A TALENTED schoolboy with dreams of competing in the Paralympics has excelled in a series of wheelchair races after training hard during lockdown.

Ollie Porter, 12, of Hurworth, near Darlington, has committed himself to maintaining his fitness and strength throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

And his has now been rewarded with a sequence of personal best times in para events specially organised under strict Covid guidelines.

Ollie, who has spina bifida, travelled to Stoke Mandeville – the home of the Paralympic movement – for a meeting attended by more than 50 wheelchair athletes, including Paralympians David Weir and Brent Lakatos.

Ollie, who is a member of Darlington Harriers and trains at Leeds, won races over 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres in personal best times.

He then took part in a smaller event at Coventry, where he set another personal best time in the 400 metres.

The Hurworth School pupil’s performances have been greatly enhanced since a charitable donation of £3,000 enabled him to by a bespoke racing wheelchair last year.

The money came from the Hurworth Rogers Charitable Trust, established after villager Brian Rogers left a large sum in his will to be used to support local causes.

Paul Mosley, who coaches Ollie at Leeds City Wheelchair Athletics Club, said: “Ollie has progressed so quickly and so impressively since getting his chair.

“His attitude to training is immense and this has resulted in fantastic improvements in his technique, general fitness and, more importantly, his ability to go extremely fast! This is just the start of great things for this young man.”

Ollie’s mum Rebecca said: “This season has been a bit of a write-off because of the lockdown, but Ollie’s worked really hard doing fitness and weight sessions over Zoom from home, and it’s really paid off.

“He’s going from strength to strength and we’re so proud of him. His ultimate ambition is to make the Paralympics – if he doesn’t, it certainly won’t be for the lack of hard work.”

Ollie said: “I'm really happy with how I have done this season. I love my new racing chair and feel very grateful for the support I have been given.”

Ollie's coach was delighted with his performances in this very strange season! The hard work of winter training starts now and we are all hopeful that there will be more races next year including the London Mini Marathon.