Meet wheelchair racer Nathan, challenging the limitations of disability
After surgery resulted in being classed as a ‘wheelchair user’, Nathan Freeman was determined to find a sport that filled him with excitement and passion. Nathan, who has cerebral palsy, was invited to join a local Special Olympic squad in June 2013, initially trying out for shotput before a chance opportunity to trial a racing wheelchair took him in a new direction.
This was, as Nathan tells us, the start of his dreams: “Wheelchair racing is like running for me. I love the training and competing, it’s given me a sense of independence and I feel alive really.”
Nathan, who is 15 years old, is committed to his sport and refuses to see his disability as any kind of a barrier, preferring to talk about the opportunities his disability has given him. Nathan trains every day to improve his fitness and strength, including sessions on the track with the local Worthing Harriers Wheelchair Racing Club.
Julian Stevens, Nathan’s coach, says, “Nathan has already achieved in a few years what many do not manage in a lifetime. It is exciting to think about what his prospects may be. His dedication and determination make him an outstanding role model for all athletes.”
That determination has seen Nathan improve his times year on year, most recently in 2018 when he achieved bronze at the Westminster Mile U20s race with a personal best of 50 seconds. He represented England at the CPISRA World Games in Barcelona in the same year and has been awarded the Princess Diana Award for inspirational young people.
Nathan’s belief in the benefits that sport can bring to the lives of disabled people is unshakeable, and he uses every opportunity to raise awareness. He points out how important the support of the public can be: “If you are at the Worthing 10k on 2 June, shout out for the Worthing Harriers Wheelchair Racing Club members in the 1-mile wheelchair race.”
Info on Nathan’s fundraising and achievements can be found at nathanfreeman.co.uk. To find out about Worthing Harriers wheelchair training groups, see Facebook @WorthingHarriers or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Worthing 10k info at worthing10k.co.uk
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