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How did a student with cerebral palsy change the future of her sport?

Friday 20 October 2017

Reading time: 2 minutes

RaceRunner and student Ellie Simpson has campaigned for years for her sport to be recognised by the IPC. Now her dreams have come true.

Ellie has cerebral palsy and competes for England in RaceRunning, a sport for disabled people with impaired balance. In 2015 she won two gold medals in the World Cerebral Palsy Games and was named a Jack Wills Young Brit of the Year. 

In 2017 she was awarded a Points of Light award by the prime minister for setting up her charity CP Teens. She graduated with a degree in sport development with coaching in 2017 and competed for Team GB in the 2018 World Cerebral Palsy Games in Barcelona.

When I first saw a RaceRunner at an athletics competition I was amazed. I tried it out, and thought it was so great that I wanted to offer it to other people, so I set up England’s first RaceRunning club at the English Institute of Sport.

I'm so passionate about the RaceRunning Club – there’s nothing greater than seeing youngsters getting out of their wheelchairs and being able to move independently at speed around a track.

Since 2015 we have been campaigning for RaceRunning to be recognised by the International Paralympic Committee.

Now it has. I always believed, I always dreamed. Now my craziest of dreams has come true!

Before I started my course, I didn’t want to work in sport because I felt like nobody would take me seriously. Sheffield Hallam has given me a lot of confidence to go out there and work in the field.

It's helped me to think about the different barriers people might have preventing them to take part in sport and how to overcome them.

My advice to everyone is get involved in whatever you can because you never know where it might lead you.

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