Double amputee officially accepted onto Great Britain Paralympic rowing development squad
PUBLISHED: 15:14 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 26 June 2018
An inspirational Suffolk footballer who lost both his legs in a horrific hit and run crash has been
officially accepted onto the Great Britain Paralympic rowing development squad.
Now Shaun Whiter is waiting to hear if he makes the team which is competing in a four-nation contest in Cork next month.
The 29-year-old, who lives close to Dullingham, near Newmarket, and who was presented with the Judge’s Special Award in this year’s Stars of Suffolk event, will know if he has made the team on July 15 just a week before the competition on July 21.
“I’ve been five months into this sport and it’s all a learning curve for me,” he said.
“But if I get in I will represent England who will be up against Ireland, Scotland and Wales, in the competition. If I make it it will be great but I won’t know until the middle of next month but I have been training to make the squad.”
He rows twice a week with Cantabs Rowing Club, on the River Cam, in Cambridge, and attends the National Rowing Centre, in Caversham, near Reading, once a month.
The double amputee and former estate agent lost both his legs after being hit by a dangerous driver near Newmarket but was able to celebrate reaching a major milestone earlier this year in his dream of representing Team GB at the Paralympics.
He was chosen for the Team GB Rowing Team’s Programme Development Squad earlier this year which has been established to identify promising talents who might one day represent their country at the Paralympics.
“I’ve now got to be kicking on to make the team and I have had great support from my wife, family and friends to get where I am now,” said Shaun, who rows a single skull.
“But the training takes up a lot of my time and we have to make a lot of sacrfices.
“There’s people in the squad ahead of me at the moment and it’s all a brand new learning curve for me but it does help me keep fit again and back into sport.”
It’s another dream which is near fulfillment for Shaun who realised his ambition of walking down the aisle on his wedding day last July when he married his fiancée Charlotte Way at a private ceremony while wearing prosthetic limbs.
He had both legs amputated after he was hit by a car while helping to change his friend Joey Abbs’ tyre at the side of Dullingham Road, Newmarket, on July 1, 2016.
And he has involved himself with many charity events since the accident, including a 150-mile cycle around Suffolk in which he used a specially-built hand bike. He was part of the more than 100 strong team which took part in the event helping to raise money for the air ambulance.
He was also the guest speaker at Suffolk County Council’s Raising the Bar awards at Trinity Park, Ipswich, where he discussed his road to recovery and guest speaker at this week’s awards ceremony for students at the West Suffolk College, held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Team GB athletes have excelled in rowing at recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At the 2016 Paralympics, Great Britain and Northern Ireland topped the rowing medal table, with three gold medals and a bronze.
The 2020 Paralympic Games are scheduled to take place in Tokyo from August 25 to September 6.