Future looks bright for Brendan after clinching World bronze
Brendan Clifford has had his first taste of competing on the international scene, and now he wants plenty more.
The Bury St Edmunds-based athlete was selected as one of 63 members of the Team England squad to compete at the recent CPISRA World Games – a multi-sport competition for people with cerebral palsy.
And despite being a novice at such a high-profile event, the T36 sprinter excelled out on the track, finishing fourth in the 100m before getting his hands on a bronze medal with a third place in the 200m.
The 21-year-old learned a lot from his experiences out in Sant Cugat, near Barcelona, and he is hoping it is the first of many appearances for his country.
“Being called up at such a young age is an amazing achievement,” said the West Suffolk Athletics Club member.
“To represent my country against some of the best athletes in the world was a great experience.
“I learned a lot from these athletes and I want to get better.
“I did not really expect to get a medal because I knew it was going to be a tough challenge, but all of the hard work and dedication has paid off and I feel really proud.
“I would like to go out to a lot more countries and represent my country. If I keep on improving hopefully that can happen.”
For mum Gill, seeing her son not only compete but triumph on the world stage, is a source of great pride.
And she has seen plenty of positive changes in Brendan since he took up athletics in his teens.
“We are tremendously proud of what he has achieved over his 21 years,” she said.
“He has been really focused, listened to his coaching and goes to the gym.
“He has put so much effort into the control of his movements and his speed.
“Brendan is such a steadier young man since he got into athletics and it has changed the control of his cerebral palsy.
“We were delighted he got called-up for England. It was a tremendous experience and he really wants to go on from here.”
More immediately, Clifford, who works at Servest in Bury and is sponsored by the company, will switch his focus to defending his 100m and 200m CP Sport titles in Doncaster next month.