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24 September 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Sport Relief > Out and About

Boy with archery target

Out and About

Freddy Harris is a promising archer with the potential to reach the 2012 London Paralympics. Every week he practises his sport, thanks to the charity Out and About and money from Sports Relief.

Inspired by the Lord Of The Rings films, 14-year-old Freddy took up archery in 2005. Now he's as good anyone his age and has ambitions to take part in competitions and represent his country at the highest level.

He's a pupil at Beacon Hill School in Ipswich and has autism, but doesn't let that get in his way.

"I can fire them in the gold at about 15 yards, and that's pretty good. I'm now training to do it at 40 yards," he says.

Freddy is a member of the Raydon Hall Archery Club, and a valued one at that.

Boy with archery bow and arrow

Steve Althorpe is the club leader and says there are high hopes for Freddy's future.

"He does exceptionally well. He's comparable to children his own age who don't have his problems.

"And I think, if the circumstances are right, he could go a lot further. He could be put into some ordinary, open competitions, competing against everybody."

Steve says archery takes incredible concentration and precision, both of which Freddy has an amazing aptitude for.

And he believes Freddy could easily be someone to watch out for. "I certainly hope so. Not only from his own point of view, but also the club.

"He's a popular member and we all like to see him do well, because he's one of the most enthusiastic members we've got."

Freddy's condition means he finds it difficult to go to new places and meet new people - which is why he needs the special coaching he's been receiving.

Sport Relief has given funding to local charity Out And About to help support him, which is much appreciated by Freddy's dad Dean.

Boy firing arrow at target

"It's very rewarding (seeing him practise his archery). It's something that he's taken on responsibly with the help of Out and About."

And Dean says it's made a real difference to his son's life.

"He's got something to look forward to. There's social interaction with other people. We've come a long way.

"We can trust him with other people and it's an interest for him. It's quite a technical thing and Freddy's grasped it."

So for the future, there's a lot more practise ahead for Freddy - with the hope of getting to an international standard.

And just like any teenager, Freddy sees another benefit in his dream of being a Paralympian.

"It'll be a job. I won't have to go to college and that! It'll be cool."

last updated: 29/02/2008 at 15:13
created: 28/02/2008

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