Ricky gears up for chance at medal glory at national games
Special Olympics Norfolk athlete Ricky Brown is already a winner in the eyes of family, friends and team-mates as he heads for the biggest competition of his life next week.
Ricky, of Caister Road, Great Yarmouth, will be competing in the 100 metres, long jump and mini javelin at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games as part of a 28-strong Norfolk team that his fundraising efforts helped put on the road to the Sheffield championships.
In June, Ricky headed up a sponsored relay run on Gorleston seafront and raised more than £1,000 towards the cost of sending the Special Olympics Norfolk (SON) team to the games which are held every four years for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Proud parents Michael and Denise will be cheering Ricky on in Sheffield.
Mrs Brown said: “Competing in the National Games is something we never dreamed he’d be able to do.
“It’s a major achievement for him to go out there in a crowd and compete with people he doesn’t know.
“Ricky’s always aiming high. He’s very positive and always likes to get a medal. To us, though, we just hope he enjoys it. We’re not worried about the medals.
“We’re so proud of him. He’s achieved such a lot already.”
Ricky, who studied at East Coast College, has a range of personal difficulties including autism, ADHD and attachment disorder, but has formed an enthusiastic dedication to athletics and joined the mainstream Great Yarmouth Athletics Club in March this year.
Kay Bailey, of Special Olympics Norfolk, said: “Ricky is such a success story for SON.
“His positive attitude and beaming smile have been an inspiration to so many people on the SON athletics team.
“He has been training with us for three years during which time he has gained so much confidence. He has taken part in regional events and won medals in Boston and Ipswich and most recently in Norwich.”
SON is run by volunteers and offers both summer and winter training and competition to around 100 athletes.
Unlike Paralympics, which is for elite disabled sportspeople, Special Olympics is for all abilities and ages.
To find out more about SON at the national games, visit www.specialolympicsnorfolk.com