Hotshot Declan is making his mark
Bungay athlete Declan Manning's recent success at the county championships was remarkable for several reasons.
Not only did he win the senior men's shot and discus at the age of just 18, but he is also a mild learning disabilities athlete (MLD).
A member of City of Norwich AC, Declan won the shot with a distance of 8.57m and threw a new personal best of 28.32m to land the discus title at the championships in King's Lynn.
His dad Kevin said: 'All of the family and friends think what Dec has achieved is fantastic. He works so hard to overcome his learning disability in his normal day-to-day routine and puts 100 per cent into everything he does.
'He not only competes and wins mainstream events, but he is competing at senior level at the age of 18.'
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Declan's talent has been nurtured by his PE teacher Jackie Milton, at the Ashley School in Lowestoft, and throws coach John Painter at CoNAC.
And now the field events ace has been selected to go to the INAS Global Games in Italy in September as a member of the UK Sports Association team, the culmination of three years of training and hard work.
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'He is very mindful that he has achieved his success with a lot of help and support from Jackie Milton, who is his mentor, and John Painter,' said his dad.
Declan trains six days a week, with different days concentrating on power work, weights, endurance swimming and running – with sessions at Bungay pool, the Elite Fitness Centre and UEA Sportspark.
Unfortunately, shot and discus are not events included in the London 2012 Paralympics for MLD athletes, but he is keeping his fingers crossed that by 2016 he will be able to compete in the ultimate event.
His dad said: 'His long-term aim is to continue improving his performances and achieve selection for the GB Paralympic team for 2016 when we are hoping his events will be re-instated for MLD athletes.'
The Manning family is seeking help with funding for Declan's trip to the Global Games.
If you can help out, contact Jackie Milton at the Ashley School on 01502 565439.