2 August 2018Future Paralympic star meets idol Jonnie Peacock at Superhero Tri
DEFYING disability is a way of life for one Cornish teenager, whose sporting successes at national level have caught the attention of Strictly Come Dancing star Jonnie Peacock.
Daisy Gregory from Bude received the surprise of a lifetime this week when the double Paralympic champion revealed she'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.
The 14-year-old was born with Down Syndrome and suffers from impaired vision and mobility problems, which have resulted in a recent succession of knee operations.
She draws on incalculable bravery, then, to rank tenth nationally in para-horseriding - which she practices at the Calvert Trust on Exmoor and at her local club in Camelford.
Mother Lynn said: “It’s overwhelming to see Daisy compete– it proves how much she can achieve and that it’s about ability rather than disability.
“I’m so proud of her and she’s doing really well, particularly in her dressage discipline.
“She wants to go to the Paralympics, that’s her plan.
“People with learning disabilities can’t compete at the Paralympics yet, so hopefully that is something that can happen to Daisy and people like her down the line.
“Her problems and knee operations are ongoing, so seeing Jonnie has given her the inspiration to keep going.”
This wasn't the first time Gregory had met Peacock, having been introduced to him at npower Winter Wonderwheels - the UK’s first festive disability sports event.
She 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.
Gregory discovered she was one of the lucky winners when the Paralympics GB star 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 equestrian ace was so enraptured by the suspense of seeing Peacock that she could only conclude Santa was coming round the corner to greet her.
“I enjoy swimming as well as horse-riding. I love sport and being outside.
“I’m looking forward to the triathlon in August and with Jonnie on our team I think we’ll do really well.”
Peacock will lead Team npower as a celebrity team captain, alongside Last Leg host and comedian Adam Hills and six-time Paralympic champion David Weir, amongst a squad of 30 celebrity captains.
“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.
“Superhero Tri is brilliant - there’s such a good vibe. It’s completely inclusive of all individuals and everyone can just get involved and have fun. There are no rules and however you need to get around the course that’s absolutely fine.”
Over 1,700 participants took part in the 2017 Superhero Tri, with more than 2,000 already having signed up for this year’s event. Superhero Series gives everyone with disabilities, from total beginners through to elite athletes, the chance to find their inner super power and achieve an inspirational goal. Participants can be as competitive as they like but the priority is on having fun. Places are still available through firstname.lastname@example.org
Team npower captain Jonnie Peacock shows the power of support with an unforgettable surprise training day for his teammates ahead of the Superhero Tri on 18th August.