OCS UK has named disability athlete, India Oates from County Durham, as its Young Sportsperson of the Year 2019. Competing against seven other athletes for the title, Oates was announced yesterday as the winner during a presentation at The Oval.
Now in it’s 22nd year, the Young Sportsperson of the Year programme is designed to nurture talent in young people and support the communities in which OCS operates. The awards give promising young athletes recognition and support to help them with the burden of training, travelling and competing. The independent recognition and financial assistance provided by OCS makes a huge difference at the start of the athletes’ journey when, often, parents and guardians are their only sponsors.
Oates began participating in sports, like many, at school. Inspired by the 2012 Paralympic Games, and encouraged by a teacher, she started running and hasn’t looked back. India has competed in the World Juniors after being selected in August and is focused on her ultimate goal of wearing a GB vest at a future Paralympic Games.
Oates commented: “It feels amazing to win. OCS believes in me which will encourage me to train and work hard, and to push myself more. It’s 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 a part of it.”
Bob Taylor, OCS CEO UK, Ireland and Middle East added: “Every year it is such a difficult decision to choose just one young athlete for this award. Every one of them is inspiring to 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 20 years, OCS has awarded bursaries of more than £500,000 to over 225 young athletes, 27 of whom have gone on to win Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship medals for Team GB.