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Jack goes for gold
A GIFTED table tennis champion is going for gold at the Paralympics in Rio, thanks to a local charity.
Jack Hunter-Spivey, aged 17, of Stewards Avenue, Widnes, has been given a new £3, 000 sports wheelchair from Widnes Rotary Club.
Jack, who has cerebral palsy, has left SS Peter & Paul Catholic College to train full time with the GB squad. He trains for more than 30 hours a week.
He has risen to 30th in the world men’s ranking out of 54 players. He is one of only two players aged 17.
His existing wheelchair fell apart and was not good enough to perform and train at top level.
International referee Karen Tonge MBE, from Runcorn, chairman of Halton Table Tennis Club, said: “The new wheelchair has been designed round his body and sport requirements.
“Special tyres give ultimate performance, the wheels have been tapered and there are adjustments for his hands to be able to move the chair.
“Without this new chair, Jack would not be able to progress to the heights the GB coaches think he can attain working towards the next Paralympics in Rio.
Jack, a class five wheelchair player, flies to Budapest with the GB squad for the Hungarian Open next month.
He will be then compete in the Lignano Master Open in Italy, and the Slovenian Open and Slovakian Open in May.
Michael Aldridge, chairman of the community and vocational committee of Widnes Rotary Club, said: “We were proud to present Jack with this wonderful piece of kit which hopefully will enable him to become an elite Great Britain medal prospect in Rio in 2016.
“Many people have made this possible and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all those organisations that have helped us along the road and the generosity of the people in Widnes.
“Jack has worked hard himself over the last two years. He helped choose the suppplier of the chair, Da Vinci, a local north west comjpany, who have been very supportive of our project.”