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The Corporation

Posted: 14/02/17

Ben’s sporting pride

A computer science student at West Nottinghamshire College is full of pride at his latest sporting achievement, after becoming the Nottinghamshire Sport Awards’ Disabled Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2016.

  • Ben Foulston with the Junior Disabled Sports Person of the Year award
  • Ben with Helen Jamieson, Marketing and Business Manager from Spire Nottingham Hospital and Etienne Stott MBE, Olympic Gold medal C2 canoe slalom athlete

Featuring amongst 16 other winners, including Paralympian Ollie Hynd MBE, Ben Foulston, 16, scooped the award for Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year at the Sport Nottinghamshire annual Nottinghamshire Sport Awards on 1 February.

The prestigious awards set out to recognise the best of Nottinghamshire sport, from elite athletes to local clubs and community volunteers.

Ben, who lives in Toton, and studies the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in IT – Networking and Systems Support, was nominated by his swimming coach at Nova Centurion Swimming Club. He has been an avid swimmer since the age of seven and now competes at a national level despite his cerebral palsy disability.

Ben wasn’t diagnosed with cerebral palsy until the age of 10 when a brain scan revealed his mild form of the illness, which creates weakness on his right side and stiffness in his joints. On learning of his illness, it spurred him to become stronger.

Ben said: “It did change me as a person and I felt I got stronger in character and built up my swimming skills even more. I’ll never give up. I train every morning before college and put in over 14 hours each week in the pool.

“I’m dedicated to both swimming and my college course and I’m confident that I’ll achieve mainly distinctions at college.”

Ben, who trains at Water Meadows swimming pool in Mansfield, is gearing up for competing in the British Internationals in Sheffield in April, but has set his sights even higher for the future.

He added: “I’ve got a couple of options lined up. Either I’ll take two years out to concentrate on training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics or enrol at Loughborough University as they have great facilities in both sport and IT.”

Computer science curriculum manager Trudi Dean said: “Ben is an absolute inspiration to all of us. His dedication to swimming is remarkable and he’s doing incredibly well on his diploma and currently enjoying a work placement with the college’s IT team.