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Redbridge youngster Holdbrook delighted with Deaflympics call-up

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 January 2017

Kieran Holdbrook who will be attending the Deaflympics

Kieran Holdbrook who will be attending the Deaflympics

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Swimmer sets sights on competing for GB in Turkey

Kieran Holdbrook who will be attending the Deaflympics, pictured with head coach Gary InchKieran Holdbrook who will be attending the Deaflympics, pictured with head coach Gary Inch

London Borough of Redbridge Swimming Club’s Kieran Holdbrook is celebrating after being picked to compete at the Deaflympics this summer.

The 17-year-old was selected by Great Britain coaches after a string of impressive performances and will head to Samsun, Turkey for the July 18-30 event hoping to make his mark.

He said: “It means everything to me. I have worked so hard to achieve this and I’m over the moon!

“My aim is to achieve personal bests, get into finals and ultimately win medals.”

Holdbrook will compete in a host of individual events, including the 400m and 1,500m freestyle, 200m and 400m medley, 100m backstroke and 200m butterfly, as well as the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays and the 4x200m freestyle relay.

And he will continue to train seven times per week, including four early-morning sessions, three evenings and two daily trips to the gym.

He added: “None of it would be possible without my coach Gary Inch (head coach of Redbridge).

“I enjoy swimming, I love competing and training and I have made good friends at Redbridge Swimming Club and around the country, including GB Deaf friends.”

Holdbrook became deaf after an infection, but he can lip read and has been taught some sign language by deaf team-mates, while coach Gary Inch knows how to get his attention when in the pool.

He has been swimming since the age of four with Vision Leisure & Cultre at Fullwell Cross, where he also uses the gym facilities, and Caterham, where he was also a primary school pupil.

And he names the legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps as one of his sporting heroes, along with Andrew Rees, the first deaf man to swim the English Channel, who persuaded the youngster to try the challenge himself one day.

Holdbrook is a keen open water swimmer and receives support from his parents, family, friends and coaches, including GB Deaf’s Sam Chamberlain.

He is studying a BTEC in Sport at West Hatch School and added: “My teachers are very supportive and my studies are not affected. My aims are to be the best I can be and then compete again at four years time.”

The Deaflympics does not qualify for government funding and Holdbrook and his family have to raise funds themselves for him to compete.

Anyone interested in helping with sponsorship can email claire.holdbrook@btinternet.com.


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