DEVIZES teenager Evan Molloy says he can scarcely believe his ‘incredible’ rise into Great Britain’s visually-impaired (VI) squad.
The 14-year-old, a member of Devizes Budo Club, has only been competing for around 18 months but attended a British VI taster session in Birmingham last month before quickly catching the attention of national coach Denny Roberts.
The Lavington School pupil has since been taken on by the GB squad and will travel to Walsall for his first training camp on May 3.
Molloy, who has only ever competed against able-bodied athletes and is in the cadet u73kg category, says his whirlwind ascent into a potential Paralympian has left his head spinning.
“What has happened to me has been incredible – I’m one of the youngest, if not the youngest, people to ever get called up to the squad and I’m really proud of that,” he said.
“My dream when I started doing competitive judo a year and a half ago was to try and represent the Great Britain team but I can’t believe that I’m on the way to doing that. It’s happened all at once.
Molloy won gold at last year’s West of England Open and Kent International and coach Mark Burbidge thinks his work ethic is his greatest strength.
“When we went to Birmingham, it didn’t take the Great Britain coaches long to spot how good he was and take him away from the group for four hours of training,” said Burbidge.
“We had people saying ‘he’s a bit of a superstar’ and I think that they might be looking at him with a view to the Tokyo Paralympics (in 2020), when he’ll be 21.
“A little while ago, he had his braces taken off and I told him not to come in that evening, but he still turned up for training.
“He’s just got this passion for judo.”
Molloy’s dad Mark paid tribute to Devizes coaches Burbidge and Jason Parsons and said: “Evan just takes everything in his stride.
“When we got the email to say that he’d been selected for the VI squad and I told him, he just said ‘that’s great, Dad’ and carried on what he was doing.
“The work that Jason and Mark do with him at the club is inspirational and it’s helped him grow as a person.
“Since he’s been going there, it’s not just his judo that’s improved but his grades at school and a lots of other things about him too.”
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