A campaign to help a ‘wonderful’ wheelchair athlete from Heanor with his dream of competing in the Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro has been launched.
Phil Hogg, a world class hand-cycle rider, needs a special to buy racing wheelchair so that he is in with a chance of winning in his class at the 2016 Games.
Now his friends and supporters have rallied round with a sponsored ‘Fit-a-thon’ at Aldercar Community Language College on June 23.
In February, Phil, 43, of Western Drive, was identified as a potential Paralympian at a training day in Loughborough, and offered a place on the ‘talent squad’.
He said: “Now I have three coaches and a psychologist and nutritionist! The funding covers coaching, training camps and access to physiotherapists. It’s absolutley fantastic and has brought me on loads.”
However, Phil must cover the costs of his own training and equipment. He said: “I have borrowed an old racing wheelchair for training. A basic one costs £5,500 to £6,000. The kit makes all the difference. Every little edge you can get over your competitiors makes all the difference.”
Now Phil, and fellow Heanor athlete Dave Ellis, are among the 17-strong British Triathlon squad selected for the European Paratriathlon Championships, which begin on June 16. The pair, who live only 400 metres apart, will head to Alanya, in Turkey, for the competition, which involves a 750m swim, 20km cycling and a 5km wheelchair or running race.
Phil will take part in the T1 class for those for athletes with lower leg disabilities and/or spinal problems, while Dave, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics as a swimmer, will compete in the Tri-6 category for visually impaired athletes.
Phil said: “Dave is like a fish he is unbelievable. It’s amazing.
“I will be putting on a show for all my coaches to say thank you and to put everything into practise - by hopefully medalling.”
The event at Aldercar costs £10 to take part.
Sponsorship forms are available from Phil Coker on 07569472052 and www.ambervalley.info/eventdetail. Spaces are limited and places must be booked in advance.
Mr Coker, who organised the event, said: “Phil is inspirational and that’s why we have to support him as a community.”