Wales

BMX racing help for Wrexham family after dad lost leg

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Media caption"When I'm out there, I don't feel any different"

A traumatic accident, which caused a father to lose part of his leg, has led his family to competitive BMX bike-riding.

Neal Gibson, 43, from Flintshire, said he "wanted to challenge himself" after his injury and find his family a new focus.

Two and a half years later, his daughter will compete in the BMX World Championships.

"The biggest reason was that I could cycle with my children again," he said.

BMX bike-riding is an off-road sport involving freestyle tricks or racing.

Image caption Neal Gibson and his children Spencer and Imogen picked up BMX riding after his injury

The family's move into the BMX world began in 2014 when Neal suffered an industrial accident at work which led to the amputation of his left leg, from below the knee.

He said his son Spencer, who was 10 at the time, was particularly affected by his injury, which prompted them to take up BMX bike riding in 2017.

"It's not a disabled sport, it's not a para-sport, it's an every day sport for able-bodied people," Neal said.

The father of three, from Penyffordd, near Wrexham, has competed at the UK championships against able-bodied BMX riders.

"When I'm out there, I don't feel any different," he added.

Following her father and brother, 13-year-old Imogen has joined the sport too - at an international level.

She will be one of 75 girls in the age 14 category at the world championships in Belgium and has ambitions to go further.

"I would like to race in the Olympics - that probably would be my main goal," she said.

Image caption Coach Quillan Isidore says Imogen can make the final

Imogen's coach, Quillan Isidore, a former junior world champion and a member of the pro-GB team hoping to win gold at next year's Olympics, said his pupil "can make the final".

"She just needs to go out and have fun. She's got many years ahead of her," he said.

Mr Isidore added that her father is "incredible" to do BMX racing after the loss of his leg.

"For him to be an amputee is incredible - really inspiring, actually," he added.

"He's pushing himself and I'm sure with his kids that's inspiring them."

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