School puts Michael up for award

PUBLISHED: 09:23 10 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

Michael with some of his medals

Michael with some of his medals

A TEENAGER who has pursued his sporting dreams despite having dwarfism has been nominated for a Young Person of the Year award (YOPEY). Michael Pope, of North Riding, Bricket Wood, is the star pupil at Bushey Meads School where he is a member of the athle

A TEENAGER who has pursued his sporting dreams despite having dwarfism has been nominated for a Young Person of the Year award (YOPEY).

Michael Pope, of North Riding, Bricket Wood, is the star pupil at Bushey Meads School where he is a member of the athletics team and trains alongside other disabled children. Michael was put forward for the Roche Young People of the Year in Herts Award by both his school and Hertsmere Borough Council.

The competition, which is endorsed by the Prime Minister, recognises and rewards young unsung heroes and offers a total prize fund of £3,000 to young Herts winners.

Michael was nominated for his sporting achievements - including the competitions he has won for the javelin, shot putt and discus - and his encouraging work with fellow disabled pupils.

He said: "I like to think that I'm a role model for other children with disabilities. I show them that we can succeed and I give them confidence. I always try to give encouragement and say you have to believe in yourself. I have met several Paralympians who have inspired me to persevere and always aim high."

Nicky Day, leader of the special educational needs team at Bushey Meads, explained why Michael was nominated and added: "He is an extremely popular student and participates in a variety of sports. As an individual he has achieved tremendous results. But Michael also shows great leadership qualities as a team player, always supporting and encouraging his team-mates."

Michael has won a host of athletics medals at the National Dwarf Games in Birmingham, the European Dwarf Games in Belfast and the World Dwarf Games in Paris. His ambition is to qualify for the Paralympics in London in 2012 and to represent Great Britain at his favourite event, the shot putt.

The Roche YOPEY is open to anyone from Herts aged between 10 and 25 until February 28. Young people can be nominated or enter themselves by logging onto www.yopey.org or writing to YOPEY, PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware SG9 0XD for an entry form.

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