Michael Dugher MP

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Michael backs wheelchair athlete’s bid for Tokyo Paralympics

As reported by Barnsley News & Sport on 25th January 2017.

Jonathan Bates’ bid to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020 has received the backing of Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher.

Jonathan, aged 46, of Worsbrough Bridge, is in Disability Shooting Great Britain’s talent and development programme, but the team’s funding has been cut because they failed to win any medals at the Rio Olympics last year, so he urgently needs sponsorship to continue his Olympic dream.

Wheelchair-bound Jonathan, who is married with two children, was left disabled after a serious road accident on his motorbike in February 2015. He broke his neck, back and ribs and several bones, injuries which left him paralysed from the chest down.

While he was recovering from his injuries, Jonathan took part in the Spinal Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium as part of the shooting team from the Northern General Hospital Spinal Unit last year, and was talent-spotted by Team GB coaches.

Jonathon said: ‘I was one of only five people asked to go back with other GB coaches present for extra shooting judgement. Only three of us passed and they have been training me since, as they believe I have great potential to win medals.”

Michael said: “Jonathan’s hard work and dedication after such a terrible accident is an inspirational tale of bravery and courage. It would be great if he could join the list of Olympians from Yorkshire and represent Barnsley as part of Team GB at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

I wish him the all the best in his attempts to get the sponsorship he needs and I hope people will get behind him.”

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