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Games memento a shot in the arm for athlete

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

By geraint thomas

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A SWANSEA athlete who narrowly missed out on selection for the summer's Paralympics has been given a special sporting memento from a kindhearted businessman.

Ashleigh Hellyer, who competes in the shot putt F33 event and is a member of Swansea Harriers, was left thinking about what might have been as the sporting world came to Britain in August.

The 21-year-old from Three Crosses came within a whisker of representing Team GB.

However Ashleigh, who put his personal disappointment to one side to cheer on his country, has been presented with one of the shot puts used in the Olympic Games.

The move came about after SA1-based businessman Jeff Charles, owner of Two Six Financial, saw the piece of sporting history in an auction.

He said: "I have known Ashleigh and his family for a number of years and it is fantastic to see him striving to reach the highest levels in sport.

"I thought that this piece of the Olympics might inspire him to push on to Rio 2016.

"The shot is one of the ones used in both the Olympic and Paralympic finals."

Ashleigh represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, finishing in 5th place, and took part in the World Juniors in Dubai in 2011.

Ashleigh said: "Mr Charles told me that he had a present for me and it was wrapped up in a box.

"I had no idea what it was but I remember thinking that it was heavy, it weighs around 7kg.

"I couldn't belive it when I saw what it was.

"It is one of the shots that was used in the Olympic final. It's amazing.

"I'm really chuffed to have it.

"I'm going to get a stand and keep it on display."

Of his own career Ashleigh added: "I was really disappointed not to be selected but I put that to one side to support the team and I went up to watch some of my friend competing in my event.

"I'm back in training now and I am just focused on Rio 2016."

Mum Gaynor added: "Ashleigh was so disappointed to miss out in the summer because he had worked so hard but he is back on course now and setting his sights on Rio in 2016.

"It was a lovely gesture by Mr Charles and Ashleigh will look on the shot put and use it for inspiration over the next few years."

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