TALENTED sportsman Joe McKechnie has a new goal – and it could take him all the way to Rio.

The 23-year-old apprentice with Hambleton District Council is aiming to represent his country at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.

Joe – who works in the council’s leisure team - plays football for the England Cerebral Palsy Senior Squad.

“I almost gave up playing football three years ago,” he said. “But then I went for a job interview and was told about a disabled regional cerebral palsy football team in York.

“I didn’t get the job but after a trial I was signed up for the football team.”

He has already competed for the England Cerebral Palsy development squad at two international tournaments - one in Denmark where the team finished third, and one in Scotland when he got his first international goal.

Joe not only coaches and plays in the Ability Counts football league at Copmanthorpe Football Club near York, he has also been selected for the Middlesbrough Disability Football team to compete in the first ever FA Disability Cup. He is also in contention to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland next year.

“I would encourage and support people whatever their ability is, to be able to join in, have fun and keep fit,” he added.

“I want to raise awareness in disability sport and show people what is available at a higher level.”

*The North East and North Yorkshire Regional Cerebral Palsy Centre of Excellence relies heavily on donations and sponsorship and is currently struggling to meet costs for kit, transport and training. Anyone who can help can email Joe on joe.mckechnie@hambleton.gov.uk