Liam wins trio of medals at Special Olympics

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An inspiring student from New College Lanarkshire has brought home three medals from the Special Olympics.

Liam Nolan won two golds and one bronze medal at the 10th National Summer Games, which were held earlier this month in Sheffield.

He was one of 2,600 athletes drawn from 20 regions of the UK to compete in a range of sports including athletics, cycling, football, golf, tennis and swimming.

A second-year student of Skills for Life at our Cumbernauld Campus, he sprinted his way to glory with gold medals for the men’s 200m and 4x400m relay as well as a third-place finish in shot put.

The 22-year-old from Larbert has been classified by UK Athletics and can now be selected to compete at international events including the 2020 Paralympics in Japan.

Liam trains with the Forth Valley Flyers disability athletics club at Grangemouth Stadium in addition to a mainstream club, the Falkirk Victoria Harriers.

His athletic potential was spotted at the age of 14 when a PE teacher at Carrongrange School in Stenhousemuir suggested that he join an athletics club.

He has since competed all over the UK – and picked up two bronze medals from his first Special Olympics held in Bath in 2013.

Liam’s mum Margaret said: “He’s really motivated – altogether he trains five times a week.

“Being involved in athletics gets him out and meeting other athletes and other people like himself.

“If his PE teacher hadn’t said, we wouldn’t have known about his interest in sport – he’s never been one to say what he likes.

“Liam has never let his disability hold him back, but he has had a lot of difficulties to overcome.

“Because of his autism, when he was in a race he would start late and some things have taken him longer to adjust.

“But he does take it all in his stride and he tries not to let his disability hold him back.”

In May, Liam received the Sport Achievement Award at the first Scottish Learning Disability Awards at a glittering ceremony held at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.

Lecturer Margaret Connor said: “We are absolutely delighted for Liam. His sporting achievements are testament to all his efforts inside and out of New College Lanarkshire.

“Not only does Liam possess a warm and friendly disposition, but he has been a very positive role model and is an inspiration to his fellow students and staff in the Faculty of Supported Learning.”

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