Paralympic hopeful James Hamilton hopes his SportsAid funding will enable him to continue building experience as he looks to fulfil his ambition of competing in Tokyo next summer.
Hamilton, who competes in 800m and 1500m in the T20 category, is among the beneficiaries of a three-year partnership between GVC and SportsAid which is part of GVC’s Pitching In programme.
Launched in 2019 with the support of Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, the initiative helps young athletes fulfil their potential by helping cover the costs of training, travel and equipment.
This has already proved useful for Hamilton, who is looking forward to the resumption of competitions when possible.
“I can use the money for buying new spikes or road shoes, which is really helpful,” said the 27-year-old, who hails from Doagh, near Ballyclare.
“It also helps with the cost of travelling and accommodation when I go to England for races.”
Hamilton previously represented Ireland at swimming but has been focused on running since 2014 and can count himself among some elite names who have also received SportsAid support, including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Adam Peaty MBE – as well as a particular hero of Hamilton’s.
“Sir Mo Farah is the big one I look up to, what he’s done is pretty special,” he said.
“It’s cool to have your name recognised like this. I like inspiring the younger age groups and they look up to me, so it feels good to be up there.”
Having recovered from a hip injury sustained during lockdown, Hamilton is back into his routine of training three times a week at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast with former Northern Ireland international runner Mark Kirk.
He also remains a member of Ballymena Runners and put his home village of Doagh on the map when he reached the final of the 800m and 1500m in the Para-Athletics World Championships in London in 2017.
Hamilton finished sixth in both and is eager to sample another taste of international action in Tokyo next summer.
“I am very inspired by hoping to reach the Paralympics, which is my main goal for next year,” he said.
“Seeing other people perform well has pushed me to keep going.
“If I got there, it would mean the whole world. You can’t go any further than the Paralympics, so it would be a big achievement.”
GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, GVC are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.