‘I’ve never let my disability restrict me,’ says Stevenage Paralympic hopeful

Paul Pearce Disability Award winner Jack Gladman with sponsor from Eatlunch and David Croft

Paul Pearce Disability Award winner Jack Gladman with sponsor from Eatlunch and David Croft - Credit: Archant

Jack Gladman was determined that his disability would never affect him when he was growing up.

Jack Gladman running in a race earlier this year.

Jack Gladman running in a race earlier this year. - Credit: Archant

And it seems this can-do attitude has paid off by landing the Stevenage and North Herts Athletics Club member a place in the Team GB and England squad.

“It’s amazing,” said the 18-year-old who lives in Chells Manor with his parents Richard and Sam and younger brother Ross.

“It is surreal and kind of like living the dream.”

The Nobel School pupil, who won The Paul Pearce Disability Award for his athletic achievements at the 2014 Comet Sports Awards, suffers from cerebral palsy and dyspraxia which affects his coordination and movement.

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He will travel to Holland next month to represent Great Britain in the 1500m at the IWAS World Junior Games.

Then in August he will compete for England in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m events at the CPISRA World Games in Nottingham.

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Mum Sam said he has gone from strength to strength since he started competing two years ago and was recently crowned the National Senior Ambulant 1,500m champion. Shortly after the race he was selected to represent England in Nottingham.

Then the next day he received a call from British Athletics telling him he’d been selected to represent Great Britain in Holland.

“It made all those cold and wet runs in February worthwhile,” Jack said. “I remember looking out of the window on a horrible day and think I’d rather stay inside. But I kept training and now I’ve been rewarded with this.”

Jack was attracted to running because he always had good endurance but never considered competing in disability sport until a teacher recommended it to him.

“I initially said no,” he said. “With the exception of football I had never done anything with disability sport. I always considered myself a capable person. I go to a mainstream school and don’t need special treatment.”

After thinking it over Jack agreed to start entering competitions. He immediately started winning races and his success quickly attracted outside attention.

After the summer he plans on studying a football, business and media degree with the long-term aim of becoming a sports journalist.

When asked about competing in the Paralympics Jack said: “I think Rio will be a bit early for me but I’m going to keep on training as hard as I can and we’ll see what happens at Tokyo.”

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