Wirral student aims for Rio Paralympics

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Oliver Nugent (left) and teammate Ryan Kay (right) in USA after training with England. Pic © Oliver Nugent

Oliver Nugent (left) and teammate Ryan Kay (right) in USA after training with England. Pic © Oliver Nugent

A Wirral sixth form student is in line for selection to play football for Team GB in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

Oliver Nugent, 18, hopes to bring back a medal to Irby after hopefully competing for the British cerebral palsy team at the Brazil Games.

Born with a neurological condition which can affect movement or coordination, Oliver defied expectations and his passion for football at a young age has led to the start of his promising international career.

The Birkenhead student has been forging a name for himself after his senior debut last week, when he joined Chester FC youth team for the last 25 minutes of their 3-0 defeat of Hyde United in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

Oliver told JMU Journalism: “I’m training nearly every day and night, doing both gym and football sessions and putting all my time into being the best I can be. When I’m not playing, I’m studying, doing homework or sleeping because I need the recovery.

“I started playing when I was six for Shaftesbury, then went to Tranmere for 10 years until I was 17.

“My parents are extremely proud, they believe in everything I do and hope I succeed. They’ve supported me with anything I need. They’re surprised I’m doing this well.

Oliver (far left) and teammates celebrating after scoring a goal. Pic © Matt Crossen

Oliver (far left) and teammates celebrating after scoring a goal. Pic © Matt Crossen

“At first, I was hoping for a scholarship but then I realised I may be good enough for a professional career if I work hard enough, so then I wanted to go pro.”

Oliver’s main objective this summer is to secure a place in the team for South America, and says anything less than a medal after that would be a disappointment.

England finished inside the top five nations at the cerebral palsy World Championships to qualify Team GB a spot in the Paralympics, and Oliver is hoping to make the final selection for Rio.

He added: “We have a great relationship at GB and we’re always joking and messing out. We trust each other and help one another with everything.”

About Christy Jade Biggar, JMU Journalism