'It feels good to be believed in': School drop-out awarded sports funding
PUBLISHED: 16:56 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 17 April 2019
A school drop-out has been named as one of the top three young athletes across Norfolk and Suffolk.
After leaving school at 14, Jordan Catchpole, from Beccles, dedicated his time to perfecting his swimming technique.
The athlete left high school following a diagnosis of autism and extreme learning difficulties.
Now aged 19, Mr Catchpole has received £5,000 fund from the Ron Harrod Foundation to support his journey as an athlete.
He said: “I haven't had time to celebrate yet because I'm in heavy training at the moment - but I will.
“It feels good to be recognised and believed in. It makes all the hard work seem even more worthwhile.
“My main aim in 2019 is to qualify for this year's World Championships in April and compete in September. I am targeting the podium again.”
Mr Catchpole trains at the City of Norwich Swimming Club and is ranked as second in the world for the S14 Para-swimmers in the 100m backstroke. S14 is the classification for competitors with intellectual disabilities.
He also won gold in the 100m backstroke for the Great Britain team at the Japan Open Para Championship in 2018.
In the same year at the para-swimming European Championships, he won silver medals in both the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle.
More than 550 para-swimmers from 37 countries competed in the event in Dublin.
Tony Bush from Active Suffolk described the young athlete as “an excellent swimmer with an established track record”.
“He has the potential to make the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and this funding could make the difference,” Mr Bush said.
Harrod Sport invited nominations from the public in autumn 2018. These athletes were short listed by a judging panel made of Tony Bush from Active Suffolk and Jack Herbert, who is a sports teacher at Pakefield Primary, with the winning athletes selected and announced by Anthony Agogo.
Peter Brierly, who nominated Mr Catchpole said: “Initiatives like the Ron Harrod Foundation are vital for young athletes, mainly because there is always that gap, where you are competing against athletes who are on top-level funding.”