Oaklands sprinter has eyes set on Rio 2016

12 November 2015

The talent of a young sprinter from the College was recognised after he was shortlisted for a national award.

James Arnott, 18, made the shortlist of just three athletes for the SportsAid One to Watch Award, beating over 1,000 applicants.

“The awards ceremony was amazing. There were so many athletes there that I look up to, like Steve Redgrave and Victoria Pembleton. I loved it,” said James, who is a member of the Athletics Academy at the College.

Despite losing out on the award, James now has his eyes fixed on the Paralympic Games in Rio next year and is working hard to make sure he makes the grade.

“I’m ranked 8th in the world at the moment but the difference between qualifying and not qualifying is something like 0.05 seconds, so I’m working hard at the moment to improve my performance,” said James, who is from Plymouth but lives at the College during term-time.

James was born with Erb’s palsy, a condition that means his left arm is slightly smaller and weaker than the other, but he has never let it hold him back.

“Growing up I was never treated like I couldn’t so certain things. My brother Jack is a professional rugby player and I remember going to his training sessions and messing around on the field. My family have never treated me any differently.

“Because I was born with this condition, I’m used to it. People see me and think I have adapted really well but I have never known it any other way so it doesn’t bother me.”

James already has an impressive collection of medals to his name. He picked up a gold medal for the 200m and silver for the 100m at the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Junior Games in Holland earlier this year. He also collected silver at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Grand Prix.

He also competed against the best in the world at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in the 2015 London Anniversary Games.

“I’m not going to let anything get in my way. I don’t want to get to a point when I’m older and think, ‘I wish I had done that.’ I want to inspire the younger generation of people with disabilities to show them that you can do anything you want as long as you work for it,” said James.