A SIX-year-old disability sport sensation from Orpington has inspired Strictly Come Dancing star Jonnie Peacock with tales of his resilience in the face of adversity.
Owen Edwardes received the surprise of a lifetime this week when the double Paralympic champion revealed he’d been chosen as part of his team for the Superhero Tri, powered by npower - the only sports series dedicated to the UK’s 13.3 million people with disabilities and long-term injuries.
Edwardes, born with cerebral palsy, excels as a goal-scoring frame footballer for Kings Hill FC – the current national champions in the para sport.
The indomitable youngster, described by family as a ‘force to be reckoned with’, also trains in taekwondo and horse-riding every week as well as skiing once a month.
Mother Kirsty said: “It’s been really great for us as parents to see what sport has done for Owen, given the challenges he’s been faced with from an early age.
“When he’s playing sport he completely comes out of himself and it allows him to be a normal 6-year-old boy.
“He inspires people around him – he is so determined to succeed, he never gives up and just keeps on going all the time.
“Since meeting Jonnie Peacock, I don’t think we’ve seen him stop smiling. He said it’s been the best day of his life meeting Jonnie.”
The Warren Road Primary School pupil was treated to an unexpected training day at Loughborough University by npower, where three budding stars were able to meet their hero and pick up tips ahead of the fun sporting challenge at Dorney Lake on 18 August.
Edwardes discovered he was one of the lucky winners when Peacock magically appeared to congratulate them, before giving a team talk as they prepared for the swim, cycle and run/push stages of the triathlon.
The Kentish sensation was over the moon at the chance to meet the Paralympian, who he watched compete at the Rio 2016 Games.
“I really enjoyed meeting Jonnie, I watched him at the Paralympics and loved it,” said Edwardes.
“He said quite a few things to us – it was a big surprise. They said someone was coming around the corner, I still didn’t know who it was.
“I’m going to start back up on swimming, but my instructor left my club at Christmas to work with the ambulance service. I’m looking forward to the Superhero Tri event in August a lot.”
Peacock will lead Team npower as a celebrity team captain, alongside 30 celebrity skippers including Last Leg host and comedian Adam Hills and six-time Paralympic champion David Weir.
“The kids we’ve chosen are positive people who want to push themselves and have a great outlook on life,” said the sprinter. I have loved meeting them today and hearing about their Super Powers. They are absolute stars with incredible stories and will make a brilliant team.
“They might have had a tough experience of life and need a bit of a boost, but their personalities shine through and an event like this can make a big difference.