OCS UK has marked its mentoring and bursary programme by naming disability athlete, India Oates from County Durham, as its Young Sportsperson of the Year.
Competing against seven other athletes for the title which is now in its twenty-second year, India was announced as the winner during a presentation at The Oval cricket ground in Kennington, London.
The 2019 Young Sportsperson of the Year programme is designed to nurture talent in young people and support the communities in which OCS operates. The awards give promising young athletes recognition and support to help them with the burden of training, travelling and competing. The independent recognition and financial assistance provided by OCS makes a huge difference at the start of the athletes' journey when, often, parents and guardians are their only sponsors.
India Oates began participating in sports, like many, at school. Inspired by the 2012 Paralympic Games, and encouraged by a teacher, she started running and hasn't looked back. India has competed in the World Juniors after being selected in August and is focused on her ultimate goal of wearing a GB vest at a future Paralympic Games.
Speaking at the ceremony, she said:
"It feels amazing to win. OCS believes in me which will encourage me to train and work hard, and to push myself more. It's amazing how disability sport has much more funding now, more coverage, and the movement is getting bigger all the time. I'm so happy to be a part of it."
Bob Taylor, OCS CEO for the UK, Ireland and Middle East, added:
"Every year it is such a difficult decision to choose just one young athlete for this award. Every one of them is inspiring to to all of us at OCS and we are incredibly proud to be able to support them in fulfilling their ambitions.
"We aim to mirror the determination, dedication and passion that these young people demonstrate through their training and competitions across both our business activities and the communities in which we work."
During the last two decades, OCS has awarded bursaries totalling more than £500,000 to 225 young athletes, 27 of whom have gone on to win Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship medals for Team GB.