Paralympic hero shares his Olympic success with Welsh pupils

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Paralympic hero John Harris this week visited a school in South Wales to talk to students about his journey through sport after a life-changing accident rendered him paralysed. Students heard from John about how he achieved sporting success as a Paralympian and how he has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for charities dedicated to sport for children with disabilities.

Having been paralysed at the age of 18 after falling almost 20 metres from a fairground ride, John Harris was encouraged to start training again. He had been a keen sportsman before his accident and was recognised as having Paralympic potential at a local gym. John was selected to compete for Great Britain in 1980 at the Paralympics. He went on to complete a total of five Paralympic Games with the peak of his sporting career coming in 1984 when he won the gold medal in discus, also achieving a world record in the process. As well as Paralympic success, John has also completed the London Marathon.

John has dedicated himself to charity events such as ‘Push Around Wales’ which raised funds to build the Wales Sports Centre for Disabled People. A true Welsh hero, in 2013 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. John is hopeful that his own success and achievements will inspire children to take up sport and follow their dreams regardless of their ability.

New Directions Secondary Account Manager Daniel McGrath had the privilege of meeting John at Caldicot Comprehensive School this week. John was at the school providing a motivational and inspirational speech to pupils. Describing his encounter with John, Dan commented, “I am a keen sportsman myself and meeting John was a great experience. In the face of adversity, he has used sport as a focus point and has become a Paralympic champion across multiple events. John is a very passionate man who now shares his experiences with pupils in the form of motivational speeches. He has done so much for Wales with his charitable work and I am proud to have had the pleasure of meeting him”.