Teenager overcoming disability ahead of Portsmouth event

Alexandra Newton, 16, training ahead of the Simplyhealth Great South Wheelchair event, which is taking place on October 21
Alexandra Newton, 16, training ahead of the Simplyhealth Great South Wheelchair event, which is taking place on October 21
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WITH all four of her limbs affected by a disability, you could forgive her for taking things slowly.

But 16-year-old Alexandra Newton, from Portsmouth, is doing the exact opposite – by taking part in a variation of the Simplyhealth Great South Run.

Alex suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, which affects all four of her limbs.

Now, she is one of seven people taking part in the first Unlimited Great South Wheelchair event, organised by The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth and The Great Run Company.

Alex has no previous experience of using a racing wheelchair, and so has been training at Portsmouth Athletics Club under the guidance of Paralympic coach Rick Hoskins.

Alex said: ‘I think it is hard for disabled people to do any kind of sport, particularly if it’s a physical disability.

‘I believe sport really helps mentally and I feel elated when I train – this could be something for any disabled person to experience.

‘I can’t emphasise enough how it has given me confidence.’

Alex says that her training with the racing wheelchair has been going well, and that she has been thoroughly enjoying it.

She said: ‘I felt very excited when I first went in the racing chair along the track.

‘I have found most sport difficult or hard to get into, but racing in a wheelchair is practical and doable and I get great satisfaction from doing this sport.’

Alex hopes that taking part in the event, which takes place on Saturday, October 21, will encourage others with disabilities to get involved in sport.

‘I think it’s fantastic that they are taking this sport on board,’ she said: ‘I believe this will initiate others to come forward and try this sport, and give them a taste of freedom and happiness.’