A nine-year-old boy who was born with a broken back is to become the youngest competitor in the first ever Unlimited Great South Wheelchair Event.
Xander Foster, from West Drayton , will take part in the event a day before the Great South Run, despite having been born with a broken back and lower limb deformities.
The schoolboy will train with Paralympic coach Rick Hoskins to prepare for the race on Saturday October 21 in Southsea, Portsmouth.
The youngster started racing just a year ago after joining Weir Archer Academy, set up by prolific British Paralympic racer David Weir, and has already shown great promise.
He is the youngest of just seven competitors selected to run in the inaugural race, which builds on the success of the Unlimited Great North Wheelchair Event earlier this year.
“I’m desperate to compete – this will be my first proper race and I just want to get faster and carry on improving my technique,” said the boy racer who has already taken part in five Mini-Mudder competitions.
Xander’s mother, Lisa, added: “There’s very little available to children of his age. One of the mums at the academy mentioned it and now Xander can’t wait to take part.
“Xander is happy to work with anyone that will help him - the team over at the Weir Archer Academy have been so helpful and inspirational to Xander and it’s great to now have someone of Rick’s calibre on board.
“Sport has had a hugely positive effect on Xander’s mental and physical wellbeing."
"It’s tough whenever he goes to a theme park or wherever it might be and there are limitations placed on him because of his disabilities," she added.
“Nobody should be exempt from taking part in sport and we believe the Unlimited Great South Wheelchair Event can act as a catalyst in opening the door to those with disabilities.”
The run is organised by The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth and The Great Run Company and will take place on the same day as the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and Simplyhealth Junior & Mini Great South Run.
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