Golden boy for nationals

DISABLED runner Stuart Mitchell is targeting qualification to the Mencap National Athletics Championships after winning a gold medal in his first competition. Mitchell, 15, from Ely, came first in the 1500m under-17 race at the Nationwide Eastern Region A

DISABLED runner Stuart Mitchell is targeting qualification to the Mencap National Athletics Championships after winning a gold medal in his first competition.

Mitchell, 15, from Ely, came first in the 1500m under-17 race at the Nationwide Eastern Region Athletics Championships for Disabled People, in Ipswich.

The championships saw 253 athletes take part in all events.

Despite running into a strong headwind down the back straight Mitchell recorded a personal best time of 7.13.09.


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Later in the day he competed in the 3000m and came third with 16.01.03.

Mitchell had an operation for a spinal deformity, caused by scoliosis, eight months ago and he was previously unable to stand up straight.

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He is a pupil of the Highfields School in Ely, has Prader-Willi syndrome and competes in the learning disabled category.

Mother Ann Mitchell said: "Many people with Stuart's condition are obese because they overeat and have no interest in sport because there limbs are very limp. Stuart has always been involved in sport and he really enjoys getting involved in as much as he can."

Mitchell is a member of Ely Runners and Ely Swimming Club and won a gold medal for back-stroke and bronze for breast-stroke in the under-14 age group of the national championships last year.

Running coach John Turner said: "Stuart is incredibly keen and a very nice chap. I was very impressed with his times in his first competition and he's also a very good swimmer.

"He joined Ely Runners 11 months ago and always shown great determination and enthusiasm. He seems to really enjoy his running and is very popular at the club. I'm sure he will go on to achieve further success.

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