Pride of St Helens: St Helens Council Young Sportsperson Award winner - Matty Shirling (From St Helens Star)
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Pride of St Helens: St Helens Council Young Sportsperson Award winner - Matty Shirling
11:00am Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
RUNNER Matty Shirling spoke of his desire to represent his hometown on the biggest stage of all after his precocious talents earned him the Young Sportsperson honour.
The 16-year-old middle-distance athlete, from Newton-le-Willows, has produced some superb performances on the track this year, culminating in gold medals at the national championships.
But it was his achievement of bettering Steve Cram’s 1977 record to become the Britain’s fastest ever under 17s runner over 1500m, that put him one step ahead in the eyes of the judges.
After collecting his honour, the Sutton Academy sixth former said his dream is to compete at the next Olympics: “When an event has taken place in your country like London 2012 it is a once in a lifetime thing and it is inspiring.
“It makes you want to keep on working hard and improving to get the stage where I can compete at Rio 2016.
“I was a footballer until I was eight years old but then realised I had a talent for running.
“I’d say that is only 40 per cent, another 60 is hard work. It’s six days a week training and I’ll be back out there tomorrow.”
Marie Rimmer, leader of St Helens Council, which sponsored the awards, said: “This lad’s going to be superb.
“It’s important to have someone like this in the town. He doesn’t realise what he does for young people in the borough.”
Another teenage athlete Joshua Neal, from Parr, who is disability sports t20 category national champion at 200metres and 400metres, was highly commended, as was Eccleston’s 16-year judo fighter Lucy Renshall, who is part of the British squad.