WINNER: Warrington Sports Personality Disabled Achiever of 2010: ADRIAN DERBYSHIRE (From Warrington Guardian)
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WINNER: Warrington Sports Personality Disabled Achiever of 2010: ADRIAN DERBYSHIRE
ADRIAN Derbyshire has added to his long list of honours after being awarded the Warrington Sports Personality Disabled Achiever award on Friday.
The wheelchair fencer, who has won three gold and two silver international medals as well as being Great Britain number one, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top after first picking up a sword only two years ago.
The 36-year-old suffered a brain haemorrhage that led to chemical meningitis and his eventual use of a wheelchair in 2008.
But Adrian, of Leicester Street, Warrington, quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the international fencing scene, finding himself a natural at the sport at a Paralympic training camp in 2009.
He said: “I had done no fencing or sword fighting at all before my illness. I was a sports therapist by profession and so I was fit, but nothing like this.
“I was at a massive disadvantage when I first started competing because most of the people I was fighting against had been doing it for 14 years or more.
“I had to give my all as a newcomer to the sport and have trained up to 60 hours a week, all over the country and internationally.”
Remarkably, Adrian won his first gold medal after two months of training, adding a second gold medal a month later and quickly became the Great Britain number one.
He has since won international competitions worldwide and continues to train 40 to 50 hours a week in the off-season to maintain his fitness.
Next year will prove to be a tough one for Adrian, as he prepares to compete in the European and World Championships before contemplating his participation in the 2012 Paralympics, for which he is set to be one of Team GB’s main representatives.
But the lure of London is always present and Adrian has been doing his part to spread the word of his sport to young people before London opens its doors to the world’s athletes in two years.
“I have a lot to contemplate before I consider 2012,” he said.
“As well as the competitions, I do a lot of work with children, training more than 1,000 kids at the Paralympic World Cup.
“It is vital that children get the chance to try a sport like this for its long-term future and it proves very popular, as most children have seen swordplay in films and are fascinated.
“At the end of the day, it’s just cool to hit people with swords.”