A funding page has been set up to help a Wearside teenager realise his dream of competing in the next Paralympic Games.
So far, over £6,000 has been raised to help wheelchair fencer Joshua Waddell, who needs to build his competition experience in order to qualify for the prestigious games.
Josh already has a number of international competitions under his belt and is aiming to improve his world ranking at the adult level.
At present the 15-year-old is not sponsored, so he is hoping to raise £30,000 to fund his participation in competitions around Europe.
Mum Caroline, who set up the JustGiving page said: “Being born a 10-week premature triplet, Josh faced many problems in early life.
“Then, at the age of two, Josh was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia, which affects his lower limbs, leaving him unable to walk unaided.”
Joshua found that through participating in sport he has been able to achieve the unimaginable.
Then through a Sports-ability event, he met his fencing coach Laszlo Jakab.
“Seven years later, Josh is now the Under 17 World Number One at the age of just 15, with aspirations and the potential to represent Great Britain in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.”
Caroline added: “An average international competition costs £2,500 and it has been advised that Josh will need to attend at least five international competitions per year.
“The money raised will allow Josh to progress giving him the greatest chance to go the Paralympics.”
Joshua already has an impressive roster of wins on the fencing circuit – with gold medals at the Loughborough School Games and a bronze medal at the Warsaw European Championships in 2017.
He has also just won a Sunderland Young Achievers award, and the North-East Disability in Sport Achievement Award.
He balances training three times a week with studying for the 10 GCSEs he will be taking next year at Venerable Bede Academy.
Donors have left messages of support on the JustGiving page, with one teacher writing: “Josh I am so proud of you! You have been one of the best students I have ever taught.”
At the time of writing, the JustGiving page had reached £6,370 of its £30,000 target.
To support the appeal visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joshwaddellfencing.