A Sunderland schoolboy is going for gold after being selected for the national finals of a school sports event.
Joshua Waddell, 14, will be part of the fencing squad at the 2017 School Games National Finals.
The event is being held at Loughborough University between August 31 and September 3, with Joshua set to compete for the England squad.
The Venerable Bede Academy pupil will be alongside the UK’s most talented school-age athletes at the multi-sport competition, and will be based in a dedicated Athletes’ Village on the university’s campus.
Joshua said: “When I went to the Paralympics in London it really inspired me.
“I’ve now set myself a target of competing in a future Paralympics Games one day.”
I’ve now set myself a target of competing in a future Paralympics Games one dayJoshua Waddell
Joshua has an impressive record of success, having recently won two silver medals at the Open National Championship and represented Great Britain in the Under-17s World Cup.
He will now follow in the footsteps of some of the country’s top athletes by performing at the School Games.
Previous competitors in the event include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, Olympic champion Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and GB sprinter Adam Gemili.
The Team GB team at the Olympic Games last summer included 56 athletes who had competed at the School Games.
About 1,600 athletes will compete across 12 sports at the four-day event, seven of which include disability disciplines.
Ali Oliver, chief executive officer of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The School Games National Finals provide a great opportunity for talented young athletes like Joshua.
“Competitors get a real taste of what it’s like to be part of a world-class sporting event at the amazing sporting venues of Loughborough University, and the event is a great way to see our future sporting champions in action today.”
Tickets for the event are available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/2017schoolgames