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Release Date: May 2019
Subject: ROTARY YOUNG CITIZEN WHEELPOWER SPORTS AWARD 2019
Outstanding Welsh teenage wheelchair basketball player wins Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award 2019
Dynamic 14-year-old wheelchair basketball player Anastasia Blease is being recognised for her incredible sporting achievements and determination to get others involved in sport and physical activity with the Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award 2019.
Anastasia from Carmel, near Holywell, who was born with spina bifida, is fast becoming a sporting hero after returning home with a gold medal from the European Championships in France in November 2018 with Team GB’s Junior Women Under 24’s. She is the youngest player currently selected for the squad and only began playing six years ago, she helped her squad achieve the top podium spot during the games.
Anastasia has played nationally for Wales under 15s team every year since she was 9, winning silver as Vice-Captain for the last two years in the Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships. She will trial this month for Wales under 18s for the first time since ageing out of the under 15s. She was introduced to the sport when she was eight years old after testing out her local club’s demonstration sports chair at her local shopping centre.
The Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell spotted Anastasia’s amazing sporting potential and helped her buy a bespoke sports wheelchair enabling her to develop her incredible natural talent. The Club were so impressed with her achievements that they nominated her for the Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award. The schoolgirl, who plays for North Wales Knights, is hoping to one day represent Great Britain in the Paralympics.
Over the past year, Anastasia has won several awards including the Denbighshire Disability Sports Award, British Wheelchair Basketball Rising Star Award, British Wheelchair Basketball Young Female Player of the Year Award and the Sports Excellence Award for Disability Wales. She is also Disability Wales’ #IamEmbolden Ambassador for deaf and disabled women.
She says: “I want to be an inspiration to younger people and I like to show them that they can achieve anything they want.”
Anastasia will receive her Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award, a trophy and £500 for a charity or project of her choice, from BBC TV presenter Ellie Crisell at the Rotary in Britain and Ireland Showcase (Conference) in Nottingham on Sunday 12th May 2019.
She said: “I am really proud to be the chosen winner of this award as it gives me the opportunity to share my experiences and stories with others, showing that having a disability should never hold you back from pursuing something you love, and being able to represent my local Rotary Club, who have supported me on my journey, is always a plus point of my achievements.”
She added: “Wheelchair basketball is what I love to do, and with support from others I can push myself to be the best I possibly can, and make my dreams a reality. I train hard for many hours a week, taking on board all the help and advice my coaches give me, and awards like this help to show my hard work is paying off.”
Rotary in Britain and Ireland President Debbie Hodge said: “Anastasia achievements to date demonstrate her commitment and determination. She is a true inspiration as she lives out her belief that you can achieve your dreams. I know she would like to represent Team GB at the Paralympics one day and am sure that she will succeed.”
WheelPower Chief Executive, Martin McElhatton added: “WheelPower is delighted to present this prestigious Award in partnership with Rotary in Britain and Ireland and it is wonderful that a young aspiring sportswoman like Anastasia is winning the award this year. I am sure Anastasia’s achievements will inspire other young disabled people to play sport and be active. Congratulations to her and we wish her every success in her future sporting endeavours.”
Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award
The Rotary Young Citizen WheelPower Sports Award celebrates the achievements and contributions as a positive role model to others by a wheelchair sports participant or group. It is jointly offered by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland and the UK wheelchair sports charity, WheelPower. To get involved in Rotary and make a difference in your community, visit www.rotarygbi.org/join
WheelPower is the national charity for wheelchair sport, providing opportunities for disabled people to play sport and lead healthy active lives. Based in Stoke Mandeville, the home of the Paralympic movement, WheelPower is at the heart of wheelchair sport. To find out more, visit https://www.wheelpower.org.uk
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ABOUT ROTARY INTERNATIONAL IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland is a membership and humanitarian service organisation. Through membership of their local Rotary club, members use their time and talents to make a difference in their own communities and around the world. There are over 1,750 clubs in Great Britain and Ireland with 46,000 members. Rotary is open to anyone over the age of 18 who wants to give back to their community, meet new people and have fun.
Rotary International was founded in 1905 in Chicago and is now the world’s largest international service organisation with 1.2 million professional men and women as members. There are 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical regions. Rotary initiates local and global projects to promote world understanding and peace and improve life conditions for people of all ages and cultures.
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