OAK GROVE College student Jordan Okonta cannot wait to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles later this month.
The 17-year-old started athletics in 2010 and, since then, has won many medals. He has been awarded a sports award from Littlehampton Town Council for the last two years and was the Sussex Sports Awards disabled sports personality of the year in 2014.
In Los Angeles, Okonta will compete in the high jump and 400m. He is one of 115 athletes going to the games from Great Britain and there will be 170 different countries and 7,000 athletes competing in 25 different sports.
Okonta is ranked number one in the country for long jump in his classification and second in the 400m in his age group.
He will head out to America on July 21, before the Special Olympics get underway four days later.
Okonta said: “It’s definitely something that I am looking forward to.
“It is under a month before I go now and I cannot wait for it to start. I think I’m going to love everything about the event.
“It’s going to be really tricky with so many athletes at the games but, as I said before, it’s something I’m looking forward to.
“I have confidence in myself going into the events that I am competing in.”
Okonta competes in a number of events for Worthing Harriers and their Special Olympics team.
He is the first member from their team to be selected for a Special Olympics event and Harriers coach Claire Moyle revealed her pride at his selection for the squad.
She said: “It’s the first opportunity that we have had as a club to send an athlete out to these games as Jordan was selected.
“We have put in a lot of work trying to help Jordan get ready for this event and it is nearly here now.
“He is very confident at this moment in time, having jumped 1.90 metres in the high jump.
“Jordan is looking really good and I’m hopeful that out in America, in front of big crowds, he will show his capabilities.
“He loves performing in front of big crowds, so I think he will enjoy these games. Jordan will come up against ten to 15 athletes in the high jump competiton which will be the highest number he has ever been up against.
“It will provide him with a fantastic experience. As a coach I have been telling Jordan to make sure he stays focused, remains calm and also remembers all that he has been taught.”
The Special Olympics get underway on July 25, with an opening ceremony.
Okonta will then take part in classification events before finding out which days he will be competing on. Along with the 400m and high jump, he will be part of Great Britain’s 4x100m relay team.
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