Silsden Young Achiever Evan racing to beat his best

Evan Whitton with his Yorkshire Young Achievers Award and his dad, Andrew

Evan Whitton with his Yorkshire Young Achievers Award and his dad, Andrew

First published in News

Just months after being cheered on by a Paralympic star, an eight-year-old Silsden boy has taken up wheelchair racing.

For Evan Whitton, taking part in the competitive sport is the perfect way to unwind after years of difficult but inspirational achievements.

Born with cerebral palsy, Evan sees racing as a perfect way to better himself and in every session he tries to smash his personal best.

The Hothfield Junior School pupil has already had an impressive few years.

Facing life in a wheelchair until a life-changing operation in the US last year, Evan has gone on to walk to school for the first time, was invited to bring the Paralympic Torch from London to Yorkshire, and on Thursday night was named “youngster of the year” at the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards.

His father, Andrew, said that although physiotherapy was hard for Evan, wheelchair racing was the perfect escape and had even brought out his competitive side.

He added: “He has started racing at the John Charles Sports Centre in Leeds once a week. He is always trying to beat his personal best time every time he goes.”

Evan proudly added: “I can do a hundred metres in 62-and-a-half seconds. I really enjoy it.”

When he attends the sessions at the arena he uses a specially adapted wheelchair, similar to that used by the Paralympian sprinter Hannah Cockroft, who won gold in both the 100 and 200 metres in the London Games.

In May, before her success, she was in the crowd cheering Evan as he walked the 600 metres from his home to school for the first time.

Mr Whitton feels his son has the determination to keep up his racing, adding: “At the moment it is good to have something that isn’t appointments or physio. He just loves improving his best time each week. He is very competitive.”

His dad added: “It has been an amazing couple of years. We thought everything had returned to normal before the award. I wouldn’t put anything past Evan now. The award has inspired him to carry on with the hard work.”

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