SPECIAL AWARD: India Oates with Linford Christie at the ceremony
SPECIAL AWARD: India Oates with Linford Christie at the ceremony

A BARNARD Castle athlete has been named young sportsperson of the year and has been put on a special bursary programme.

Athlete India Oates, 16, who attends Barnard Castle School and has cerebral palsy, was presented with the award by Linford Christie at the Oval cricket ground, in London, last week.

The event was organised by OCS Group, a business that supplies services to international companies, with the aim of nurturing talent in young people. As well as receiving the accolade, India will get mentoring and a bursary to help with training, travelling and competing.

Speaking at the awards India said: “It feels amazing to win. OCS believes in me which will encourage me to train and work hard, and to push myself more.

“It is amazing how disability sport has much more funding now, more coverage, and the movement is getting bigger all the time. I’m so happy to be part of it.”

India began participating in sports at school. Inspired by the 2012 Paralympic Games and encouraged by a teacher, she started running and has not looked back. She competed in the world juniors competition after being selected in August and is focused on her ultimate goal of wearing a GB vest at future paralympic games.

Bob Taylor, OCS chief executive, said: “Every year it is such a difficult decision to choose just one young athlete for this award. Every one of them is inspiring to all of us at OCS and we are incredibly proud to be able to support them in fulfilling their ambitions.

“We aim to mirror the determination, dedication and passion that these young people demonstrate through their training and competitions across both our business activities and the communities in which we work.”

Over the last two decades OCS has awarded bursaries totalling more than £500,000 to 225 young athletes, 27 of whom have gone on to win Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship medals for Team GB.