Wheelchair athlete Joel sets new marks

Joel James EMN-151105-142417001
Joel James EMN-151105-142417001

The last couple of weeks have been a busy time for Sleaford wheelchair racer Joel James.

Fourteen-year-old Joel, who was born with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, took part in the Virgin Money Mini London Marathon on Sunday, April 26, racing his specially-adapted wheelchair racer.

He completed the three-mile course in a time of 18 minutes and 4 seconds, finishing second in his age group. His time was almost seven minutes quicker than for the same event last year, when he finished fifth in 25.01.

A week later, on May 2, Joel was racing again, in the Cerebral Palsy Sport Grand Prix Series at Sport City, Manchester, where he competed in the 100, 200 and 400 metres track events. It proved a very successful event, with Joel winning all of his races and setting new personal bests for each distance.

But his racing action for that weekend didn’t end there. The following day Joel was competing in the British Wheelchair Racing Association (BWRA) National Track Championships at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury, where he again competed in the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

This meet saw both elite and developing athletes competing alongside each other. Although heavy rain made track conditions wet and slippery, Joel still set another new personal best time for the 400 metres, beating his PB from the day before in better conditions by five seconds.

Joel is a member of both the Lincoln Wellington Athletic Club and Coventry Godiva Harriers. His ultimate goal is to achieve selection for the British Paralympics team for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan, when he will be 19.

It is an expensive sport and Joel’s family is currently seeking sponsorship to help fund equipment and travel to various events. He will need a new chair at the end of the season, with a base level chair costing around £4,000 without tyres.

If you would like to sponsor Joel, contact Karen on 07900 916763 or Stewart on 07887 653528.