Bethy Firth from County Down has received a £500 OCS Young Sports Person Award in recognition of her outstanding sporting ability. In the awards scheme, run in partnership with the charity SportsAid, Bethy beat stiff competition to win one of two runners-up prizes in the Disability Category for Northern Ireland.
15 year old Bethy competes in both 100m and 200m races with an S14 classification for swimmers with a learning disability. Her first competition was the DSC National Championships in Sheffield where she won seven gold medals and a trophy.
Bethy recently won silver in the S14 100m Backstroke at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin. She was the youngest competitor in the race. She is dedicated to training seven times a week, sometimes even starting before 4 a.m. on a school day. Her training partner, Lauren Hughes, supports Bethy’s learning process and teaches her endurance and sprint techniques. She recently took part in the UK school games and proudly won one gold and two silver medals.
Commenting on her award win, Bethy said, “It’s really cool that I have won the award. I feel really proud of myself. Thank you to OCS for recognising my efforts.”
Previous OCS Young Sports Person Award winners include Olympic athletes, 400m runner Richard Buck, and gymnasts Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle MBE, along with Paralympic field athlete Nathan Stephens.
Chris Cracknell, chief executive of OCS said, “The OCS Young Sports Person Awards, now in its 14th year, highlights our commitment to supporting young people who are great role models, not only for their peers, but for many others in business and the community. Their drive and relentless determination to achieve their goals is inspirational. Our grass-roots scheme helps young athletes right at the start of their career when support and funding is needed most. Well done to the athletes who have been rewarded this year and we hope that they will have the same success as many of our past winners, some of whom look set to represent GB in London 2012.”