Rainbow-Cooper finds gold as duo double up

Eden Rainbow-Cooper
Eden Rainbow-Cooper

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Portsmouth duo Eden Rainbow-Cooper and Finnley Kenny underlined their status as two of the best young wheelchair racers in the UK, following success at the Typhoo National Junior Athletics Championships.

Fourteen-year-old Rainbow-Cooper, whose burgeoning talent means she trains at the prestigious Weir Archer Academy in Surrey, bagged two golds at Warwick University in Coventry in her T54 classification.

Finnley Kenny

Finnley Kenny

The Portchester Community College pupil won gold in the under-16 400m in a time of 1min 6.2sec and claimed top honours again in the 800m in 2.12.7.

Rainbow-Cooper was born with a condition called Sacral Agenesis, a neurological disorder which affects her body below the waist.

She was introduced to wheelchair racing through the English Federation of Disability Sports’ ‘Playground to Podium’ scheme and the inspiration of the 2012 London Paralympics.

The fastest under-15 female T54 in the UK, Rainbow-Cooper said: ‘I love the speed of wheelchair racing, it is so different from other sports.

‘I’ve been racing for just over two years now and train three times a week at the academy and my dream now is to get to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.’

Meanwhile, 11-year-old Kenny, who has Cerebral Palsy, also won gold in both the 100m and 200m T34 races.

The Denmead youngster, also a pupil at Portchester Community College, won with times of 27.9 seconds in the 100m and a personal best of 51.7 seconds in the 200m.

The Weir Archer Academy tweeted their congratulations: ‘Another good weekend of sport for Weir Archer Academy athletes. Two gold medals apiece for Eden Rainbow Cooper and Finnley Kenny.’

The two-day Typhoo championships, organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and supported by Typhoo are one of the highlights of the disability sports calendar with some competitors hoping their success might lead to a golden career in athletics.

Many of the top Paralympic athletes began their own success at this prestigious event.

The likes of Shelly Woods, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies and Hollie Arnold all performed in the event where their talent marked them out as future world-class athletes.

Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS said: ‘What an event this year’s championships have been.

‘This year’s Typhoo nationals certainly saw some brilliant performances from some very talented young athletes, but it was the sheer joy of participation that will be a lasting memory.’

The Typhoo programme was designed with EFDS to make sure more disabled athletes have access to participation opportunities under the ‘Sports for All’ banner.

Somnath Saha, Chief Executive of Typhoo Ltd, said: ‘It was truly a great celebration of talent and Typhoo has been delighted to support it.’