Nathan’s story ... so far!

Nathan is 15 years old, he and his identical twin brother Joshua were born 11 weeks prematurely and both, when they were just a few hours old, suffered a cerebral bleed. Sadly for Nathan it resulted in a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy when he was 15 months old.

 

Nathan and Joshua have always had a ‘special bond’ and in the early years Nathan desperately tried to keep up with his brother! He could walk short distances independently and used a walking frame for further distances. He even used to do Karate with his brother and reached green belt! However, over the years Nathan has had to go under orthopaedic surgery. Firstly to both legs and then later he had his right hip reconstructed. This resulted in a significant decline in his mobility and him being classified as a ‘wheelchair user’.

After spending years searching for a sport that would satisfy his desire for excitement and passion he joined a local Special Olympic squad in June 2013, originally training at shot put, until the club were loaned a racing wheelchair for him to try. This was the start of Nathan’s dreams – he compares wheelchair racing to running for him and loves training and competing.

The Club thankfully was granted funding to purchase some Motivation racing wheelchairs which Nathan used for the first year or so to train and compete. This enabled Nathan to get a ‘feel for the sport’ which he has subsequently turned out to love! Although Nathan had access to one of his club motivation chairs, it was not a ‘good’ fit for him and he was unable to improve his technique as his arms were too short to reach the bottom of the push rims. Nathan has been fortunate to have received support from by The Starr Trust who purchased a basic custom-made racing wheelchair for him in July 2015. This made a significant difference to his technique and has supported him to improve his times.

Nathan trains every day of the week to improve his fitness and strength with a variety of activities; three times a week on the track, twice at our local sports centre with the Worthing Harriers Wheelchair Racing Club, part of Worthing & District Harriers and occasionally in Sutton with the Velocity Wheelchair Racing Club; in the gym, swimming and wheelchair basketball.

Nathan has continued to improve his times year on year, see chart below, and won Bronze at the Westminster Mile U20s race achieving a PB of 50 seconds, and also won two Gold medals and a Silver medal at The Junior National Championships. More recently, in August, he has represented England at the Cerebral Palsy World games in Barcelona in the 100m, 200 & 400m races. An amazing experience enabling him to learn so much about himself and International Competition at such a young age!

His current Personal Bests are:

Year 100m 200m 400m 800m 1 mile 5k 3 miles
2014 31.99 67.25          
2015 27.18 53.9 01:50.0   09:44    
2016 25.86 49.21 01:42.0   07:02    
2017 24.1 44.61 86.76 03:03.0 06:18 22:40 20:23
2018 22.62 43.69 82.02 02:56.7 05:28 19:47  

Julian Stevens, Nathan’s Coach, has commented, “Nathan is the founder member of the group and from the outset I have been impressed by his enthusiasm for the sport of wheelchair racing. Throughout his first winter when he was training on his own in uncomfortable weather conditions he persevered through the frustrations of learning a new activity until he had mastered the basic technique. Now, he trains regularly and is eager to understand more about the sport which demonstrates his commitment to it.”

“Nathan has already achieved in a few years what many do not manage in a lifetime and so based on this level of progress it is exciting to think about what his prospects may be. Success in sport is down to natural ability and personal desire. Nathan has demonstrated an above average aptitude for wheelchair racing and I am confident that he will use his very best endeavours to be the best that he can be.”

“Nathan is a torchbearer for the sport of wheelchair racing in Worthing. His dedication and determination makes him an outstanding role model for all athletes. His belief in the benefits sport can bring to the lives of disabled people is unshakeable and he uses every opportunity to raise awareness of them. He refuses to see his disability as any kind of a barrier; “I am differently abled”, he will often say and prefers to talk about the opportunities his disability has given him. The light from his torch shines brightly and those caught in its beam are enriched by it.”

Throughout the Athletics season Nathan competes all over the country at events every month, and when he’s not training or competing, he’s avidly watching recordings of races to see what ‘tips’ he can glean from International record holders. In the recent past Nathan has also been awarded the prestigious Princess Diana Award for his contribution to disability sports locally, and was awarded The Worthing Herald Sports Star Award in 2017.

Nathan is highly competitive and driven to achieve his dream of one day representing Great Britain at Olympic level! Wheelchair racing is very expensive and a specialised sport, therefore family and friends have recently formed a Fundraising Group, raising funds for Nathan to support the ongoing costs for maintenance of his racing wheelchair, purchase of equipment, and travelling costs to events.

If you have any questions, please contact Kim Freeman on 07870 486504 or Melinda Fretter on 07786 965497 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.