Leah gets new sports chair ready for Rio

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Wheelchair basketball star Leah Evans has been measured up for a new chair which she could use to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

The 18-year-old, from Townville, has been selected for Team GB’s provisional squad in next year’s Paralympic Games. And she could be training in her new chair within weeks.

The Express launched the Let’s Get Leah to Rio campaign in October, to support the teen in the run up to the competition next September.

She needed to raise £25,000 to cover the costs of a new wheelchair and her training and travel expenses.

Readers and business across the Five Towns have backed Leah’s bid to reach the sporting stage.

And following the launch of the campaign, backed by Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper, Leah was also granted funding from UK sport for the new wheelchair.

Her mum Dawn Evans said: “It is a huge relief that she is getting the new chair because her other one was broken and could have fallen apart at any time.

“That was going to be a big chunk of money for us so we’re incredibly grateful. It will give her the support she needs when playing.

“We are overwhelmed with the kindness and support we have had since the launch of the campaign and can’t thank people enough for their generosity.”

Ms Cooper added: “It’s fantastic that Leah has managed to secure the wheelchair she’ll need for training and great that local people have been showing support and raising money to help too.

“I know everyone in Castleford is already incredibly proud of her success and the work she’s put in and we’ll hopefully be cheering her all the way to Brazil in a few months’ time.”

Leah is a European bronze medallist in wheelchair basketball and won gold with Great Britain’s under-25 team in Beijing in July.

She has been shortlisted in the Paralympic provisional squad is expected to find out whether she has made the final team next Spring.

Mrs Evans said: “Leah is keeping going with her training every day, juggling it around her university study in Warwick, so that she’s at her best. It’s agony waiting to find out.”

Visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/letsgetleahtorio