KEIRAN O'HARA - winner
19 year old Keiran, who belongs to Havering Athletic Club, excells at 400, 800 and 1500 metres events as well as Cross-Country running. He has autism and learning difficulties and attends Havering College's Unit for Special Needs. 2018 got off to a great start as he was part of his Club's 4-man winning team in the Essex Under-20 Cross-Country Championship. He stepped up to senior level to be part of his Club's Essex Cross-County League winning squad. In both the Southern Athletics League and the Youth Development League Keiran was a regular name on the team sheet for his 3 favourite track distances and, over 800 metres, represented his Club in the Essex County Championships.
At the Eastern Region Disability Championships he won gold medals at both 400 and 800m metres. In one day at the Mencap National Championship Keiran landed 4 medals : a long jump bronze, silvers over 400 and 800 metres finishing with gold at 1,500 metres. All were impressed by his talent, versatality and stamina! He's a local parkrun regular who is always at or near the front. He represented Mencap when addressing an All-Party Parliamentary meeting in Westminster about difficulties faced by athletes with learning disabilities.
During the season he managed to improve personal best times over his 3 favourite track distances. In UK Under 20 T20 rankings he's No.1 at 800 and 1,500 metres and 2nd over 400 metres. British Athletics have selected him as a member of their Paralympics Development Academy for those with potential Paralympian promise. How does he do all this? - by enthusiasm which sees him train 6 days a week in all weathers!
REBECCA O'ROURKE - runner up
Frances Bardsley Academy pupil Rebecca has learning difficulties. She is well known as one who competes for Havering Athletics Club and Havering Borough in the London Youth Games. British Athletics have selected Rebecca to join their Paraympic Development Academy, as one with potential Paralympian potential. This enables her to attend training camps with top coaches.
In the Under 20 T20 UK rankings over 1,500, 800 and 200 metres she is listed 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. Rebecca's trophy cabinet bulged during 2018. Both the Mencap National Games and the Typhoo National Disability Championships saw double golds over 200 and 1,500 metres. As a junior she contested the Senior England Disability 1,500 metres Championship - and earned a silver medal! In the England Under 15 & 17 National Championships Rebecca contested the Ambulant 200 and 1,500 metres, gaining silver and gold medals respectively.
Versitality was shown at the London Games when she represented Havering at Athletics, Swimming, Indoor Rowing and Cross-County. Gold came in a 200 metres run, and also in the swimming pool as part of a relay squad as well as in the individual 50 metres' backstroke.
Rebecca represents her Club in the Youth Development League and in the Eastern Young Athletes League, in the later being part of a winning Havering AC team at the Top 6 Final Meeting. She's part of Mencap's Campaign aiming to get more people with learning difficulties involved in sport; and is one who works hard to combine school work with athletics and - for good measure - Rebecca also received a Jack Petchy award for her contribution to sport.