Kimberley one step closer to Paralympics

Talented runner Kimberley Aspland, from Geldeston, has taken a step closer to competing at the London Paralympic Games next year after making the ‘long list’ for selection.

Now she has got to gain the qualifying time to make the short list and earn the right to be picked to represent Britain in the 1,500m for her category, writes Viv Thomas.

Kimberley, 16, who has learning difficulties, attends the Ashley school in Lowestoft where several others are also competing at international level.

She said she was “really happy” when she heard she had made the long list.

“I love running and when I win a lot of medals. I also enjoy taking part. I run three times a week at the City of Norwich Athletics Club and I run when I am at home. I also swim when I can,” she added.

Athletics has taken her to major competitions all across Europe and the next big event is the Global Games in Italy in September where she will be representing the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Difficulties.

She said the highlight so far was when she was “asked to be a part of the GB team and take part in Games overseas”.

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Kimberley’s mum Lisa Tuttle said: “I couldn’t be more proud of her if I tried.

“She has been at the Ashley School for three years now. They have found something she is good at, and is better than a lot of others. It’s really good for her.

“She started off just doing cross-country and then started getting good times and got picked for the Mencap England squad and then the Great Britain team. She goes abroad a lot.”

She praised the teenager for “having the courage, and believing in herself. I am so proud of her”.

Kimberley’s PE teacher at Ashley School, Jackie Milton, said: “It’s a great achievement even to be long listed. It’s in Kimberley’s hands now as to how much she wants it.

“The time which has been set is very steep, bearing in mind it’s an open senior event and she is only 16.

“She will have to step up her training to get the qualifying time at three IPC-recognised events.

“At the age of 16 she has represented senior teams which is amazing. She has got a very bright future and can travel the globe really.

“We are very proud of her and will do anything to help her achieve her goals and dreams,” she added.

Kimberley’s family is appealing for sponsorship to help her travel to events to try and gain the vital qualifying times.

“Without competitions she isn’t going to get the experience she needs,” explained her mum.

If you can help, call Lisa Tuttle on 01508 518845, or Jackie Milton at the school on 01502 565439.