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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Medal double for Ulverston sprinter Simpson

SPRINTER James Simpson won two relay medals when he represented Great Britain at the INAS European Athletics Championships in Sweden.

James Simpson
MAN OF THE MOMENT: Ulverston’s James Simpson carries the Olympic torch through Whitehaven last week John Story REF: 50035196W003

The Ulverston flier, who has a learning disability, bagged silver behind the Portuguese team in the 4x100m and bronze in the 4x400m when the prestigious event was held in Gavle.

Barrow and Furness Striders coach Paul Burns, who was chosen by the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability as Great Britain team manager for the championships in Scandinavia, said: “It was a successful championships and we returned home with 13 medals.

“James suffered a slight calf strain playing football for the Great Britain Mencap team at a tournament in Switzerland two weeks before the championships.

“I made the decision to pull him from the individual 100m and 200m events and, with no reserves having travelled, save him for the relays.

“It turned out to be the right decision, with James winning two medals.”

Simpson also won gold as part of Great Britain’s 4x200m relay team at the INAS World Indoor Athletics Championships in Manchester in March.

The 20-year-old Striders member – who was one of the Olympic torch bearers when it passed through Cumbria last week – trains with club and national coach Burns outside of term time.

Most of his training, however, is done with Tynedale Harriers in Hexham, where he studies at the Mencap National College.

Despite his huge potential, Simpson will not compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Unfortunately for him, the only three track and field disciplines open to athletes with learning disability at the Games will be the long jump, shot putt and 1500m.

INAS is the international federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability.

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