A Sunderland teen with cerebral palsy has came out on top in a national competition of disability sport boccia.
Thomas Ferry took home the Heathcoat Cup after competing at the final in Hertfordshire against the top players from across the country.
The 15-year-old has come a long way since he and twin brother Jack were born 16 weeks early, weighing just 3lb between them, back in 2001.
The pair were kept in intensive care, where they were hooked up to machines to help them breathe while their internal organs finished forming.
Now 15, Thomas, from Norton Road, has taken up boccia, a sport designed for athletes with severe impairments, and has already came out on top in his first competition.
Similar to bowls, the target ball sport is played indoors with soft leather balls.
The Sandhill View Academy pupil only took up the sport last year and has now triumphed in the national final, held at the University of Hertfordshire Sports Village.
He made it through to the final after winning a gold medal in the regional competition held at Gateshead Leisure Centre back in March.
And mum Helen Morgan, 38, couldn’t be more proud of her son, who she says has grown in confidence since taking up the sport.
“Thomas was playing against the top players from across the country,” she said.
“He played against others in his ability level, who were a mix of ages.
“We are so chuffed for him. “We get nervous watching him but he just gets on with it.”
Now Thomas is set to take part in the Boccia England (BE) Cup Finals at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this weekend.
As part of his training, Thomas goes to group Vipers Boccia Academy in Newcastle and also takes part in Smiles Through Sport, as disability sport group, where he takes part in different sports include boccia, at Sandhill Sports Centre.
Mum Helen added: “It was a long day, but he really enjoyed it and came away with a medal and cup.
“We are really proud.”