Motherwell-based athlete Steven Bryce will fly out to Los Angeles next week to represent the UK in the World Games.
Steven, part of the squad run by renowned coach Tommy Boyle, will compete in the 800m and 1500m track events in the T20 category at the Games which take place from July 25 to August 2.
The former Fir Park primary and secondary school pupil, now a full-time student on the NQ horizon course at New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell campus, heads out to LA on Monday.
Steven, from Cambusnethan, will be backed by encouragement from his dad Alan, mum Lorraine and sister Nicole, who are also travelling out to LA to give him support.
His interest in athletics began in 2005, at the age of 11, when Alan took him to the local club where coach Julie Boyle, gave him a big welcome and ensured he was treated the same as everyone else.
Julie said: “The key is that kids have fun and are coached in a positive atmosphere with emphasis on long term development,
“Steven is always smiling and this helps all of the young athletes in the group to keep athletics in perspective”
His progress has been consistent having improved his times at both 800 metres and 1500 metres every year from 2005. In 2012 and 2013 he won the Scottish National Disability Cross Country title and in 2013 he was selected for the Scotland West Squad in the GB Special Olympics in Bath where he won three gold medals at 800m, 1500m and 4x400m relay.
He continued his progress last year by being selected for the Scottish Disability Squad and now the ultimate accolade of Team GB Selection and competing at the World Games.
Steven, who competes for Victoria Park AC, trains with the “Tommy Boyle Athletics Squad” at Ravenscraig, Dalziel Park and Wishaw Sports Centre under the watchful eye of Alan, mentored by Tommy.
He loves being part of the group of talented teenagers and benefits massively from the group spirit and all-round development which all of the athletes receive from the squad coaches.
The squad’s aim is to develop young people to be successful not only in athletics but to use athletics to develop them in those vital life skills which they require to succeed in today’s society .
Tommy, who coached many world class track stars including Tom McKean, Yvonne Murray and Susan Scott, said: “Our ethos is success through sustained effort in everything we do and Steven lives that ethos.
“He gives 100 per cent in everything he does and does it with a smile, he reminds me of Peter Meechan who I coached to win gold in the pentathlon in the 1990 special Olympics in Glasgow.
“Steven has progressed well this year taking 20 seconds of his 1500m time a massive improvement and is now tapering his final preparation designed to help him do his very best in Los Angeles.
“It will be a learning experience at that level, but longer term there is no limit to what he can achieve in athletics he has only recently achieved full grading which allows him to compete in the Para Olympics.
“Steven he is surrounded by a group of parents and coaches who encourage the athletes in everything they do.
“He is the first of the young group to reach UK level and his world selection will inspire more of his training partners to become the very best they can be in athletics and more important in life.”