The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event with a fully integrated programme of para sport disciplines and this year’s Games promises to be extra special with big crowds cheering on the athletes after Tokyo 2020 took place behind closed doors. Birmingham 2022 has the Commonwealth Games’ biggest Para-sports programme, with 42 events across eight sports. We wish all the best to the following Get Kids Going! supported athletes and ambassadors who are competing from 28 July to 8 August.
Fabienne Andre – 100m – T34
Fabienne, who lives in Brighton, has been supported by Get Kids Going! for a number of years since she started her Paralympic journey.
She took up wheelchair racing after Para swimming which she started at the age of 14. She began training as a wheelchair racer in 2018 and started competing in July 2019. The Get Kids Going! supported athlete said “I wanted to expand my sporting world. Initially, I was looking at trying both hand cycling and wheelchair racing, as I was keen to do a triathlon, which would enable me to continue swimming too. I had become good friends with a few of the wheelchair racers, so felt this would be a good place to start. Later that year I was invited to try it out at the Weir Archer Academy and something just clicked. I knew that wheelchair racing would be my new competitive focus and passion.”
In June 2021, she secured her first European title as she won the women’s T3. Then just a month later she was overjoyed to hear she had been selected for the Paralympic Games.
Eden Rainbow Cooper – Marathon – T54
Eden, who lives in Havant is an Ambassador for Get Kids Going! and has been supported by us for a number of years. She lives with Sacral Agenises, a condition which limits muscle growth below the knee. Like Fabienne, she trains with the Weir Archer Academy founded by our President, British Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir, a six-time gold medallist at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games and Jenny Archer MBE. She began wheelchair racing in 2013 and was introduced to the sport through the English Federation of Disability Sports’ ‘Playground to Podium’ scheme. Already in 2022 she has competed at distances ranging from 100m to a full marathon.
Shelly Oxley-Woods – Marathon – T54
We have been supporters of Get Kids Going! Ambassador Shelly Woods since she was a young girl, so it’s great to see growing athletic prowess as an adult and young mum. She took three years out of competitive racing to raise her son. In September 2021 Shelly won the Great North Run for the eighth time. It’s was her first victory in the race since 2014 and she last competed in 2019. The Great North Run celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021, so it was a very special race and Shelly had a great finishing time of 57:01.
In February 2022 she fulfilled her amazing challenge of completing three marathons in three weeks. She came 5th in her third marathon – the Boston Marathon with a time of 1hour, 54mins, 33secs
Her time of 1 hour 42 mins 36 sec in Berlin was her fastest marathon time in 10 years. In the London Marathon she came sixth with a time of 1 hour, 50 mins 11 secs.
David Weir – Marathon – T54
Our president and sixth time Paralympian David Weir is competing in the Commonwealth Games 2022. He has been an absolutely amazing inspiration to so many young athletes. His achievements include: Quadruple Paralympic Gold Medalist – London 2012, Eight times winner – London Marathon, Winner – New York City Marathon 2012, Double Gold Paralympic Medalist – Beijing 2008, Silver Paralympic Medalist – Beijing 2008 and World No.1 Paralympic Athlete.
Together with his coach of 20 years Jenny Archer, David set up the Weir Archer Academy and the track in Kingston where he grew up racing. It is the centre of excellence for disability athletics, helping disabled people achieve through sport. It has been renamed the Weir Archer Athletics and Fitness Centre in their honour.
Joe Gallagher, chairman of the Weir Archer Academy, gave a message we would like to echo: “Everyone at the Weir Archer Academy is proud of everything Dave has achieved during his career. His legacy lives on through each and everyone one of us at the Academy, who you continue to inspire.”
We would like to congratulate all the athletes above for making the Commonwealth Games and we wish them every success. Look out for Fabienne, David and Eden in their special video message below.