SPRINTER Matthew Hamilton has been chosen to represent Great Britain at the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville next month.
The talented teen – who celebrates his 17th birthday just a week before the Games start on August 3 – was picked to represent his country in the T47 400m event.
He’s a member of the 23-strong British team and will line up alongside the world’s best young athletes.
Hamilton has very little strength or manoeuvrability in his right hand, arm and shoulder, a condition called Erbs Palsy he sustained at birth.
And although the teenager has always liked sports – he played rugby for a while at King John – it was not until the Paralympic Games in 2012 that he caught the bug.
The Benfleet-based youngster’s mum, Tracey Hamilton, said the visit to the London Games had been the spark.
She took Matthew and her other children James, now 21, and Katie, 13, to the event.
“We saw powerlifting, equestrianism, table tennis and loads of stuff and at the end of the day Matthew turned to me and said: ‘right, what can I do?’ “The boy was inspired by all the athletes and then later on we went to a thing organised in Sheffield to get young people into high level sport. Matthew was keen on doing cycling and trying to get into the British Cycling programme but he felt a bit disappointed with his results.
“He was going to try out or the long jump too when, during his warm up Katie Jones of British Athletics came over and said she thought that he was a natural for the track.”
Mrs Hamilton said that her son had immersed himself in training and was taking the run up to the games very seriously now that he had got through the gruelling selection process.
“Matthew has got his smoothie maker and eats a great deal of chicken and pasta. But he’ll still have the odd piece of chocolate cake!
“He’s both nervous and excited about the world Games,” said the proud mum of Hamilton who is currently in the sixth form of King Johns doing A Levels in photography, Spanish, psychology and catering.
Hamilton remains involved in cycling at a high level – he established youth records at the 200m flying start, 500m and 2K last November – and is a regular at Basildon Athletics Club where he currently trains under Matt Lunn who has overseen his progress.