WHEN Myles Sanderson left full-time education he had no interests and would just sit in his bedroom.
Today, the 21-year-old from Brampton Bierlow, Barnsley, is looking forward to representing team GB in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi next March. Mum Helen puts the massive change down to a chance meeting with basketball coach Steve Woodhouse.
“As he was leaving college I was introduced to the basketball coach Steve Woodhouse. Steve changed Myles’ life beyond anything I could hope for,” said Helen.
“Myles went for a taster session and enjoyed himself so much he went back for more. From that point he has excelled in the sport. He has gone from playing one hour a week to playing seven hours a week!
“He has improved so much over the last three years. It gives him somewhere to go and to meet other young players who have learning disabilities, but also young people who have no disabilities.”
The changes that his interest in sport has brought makes Helen all the more proud because at the age of two Myles was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum and communication and routine was very difficult at that time.
At the age of ten he was diagnosed as having moderate to severe learning difficulties.
“I am very proud of my son – he has done so much in his life by the age of 21.”
In August 2017 Myles participated in the Special Olympics, which were based in Sheffield, playing basketball for South Yorkshire and Humber and helped the team win a bronze medal!
Myles has since been picked to represent team GB in the Special Olympics: World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.
Helen said: “To represent team GB is a great honour. There are 129 athletes that are representing team GB. There are only 10 male basketball players who have been chosen – Myles being the only one from Barnsley and Rotherham area.”
As well as huge support from his Mum, Myles has been helped on his amazing journey by Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL).
He has been going to Fitness Flex at Dearneside Leisure Centre since he found out that he had a place at the world games.
And when Dearneside Leisure Centre facility manager Martin Prest heard about Myles’ achievements, he nominated him for a FANS sponsorship which means that the young athlete is awarded a year’s full subscription.
Martin said: “BPL are delighted to support the training requirements of Myles to help him to achieve his goals, which is to continue representing Great Britain at basketball. We would like to wish Myles continued success, particularly with the forthcoming Special World Games in Abu Dhabi next March.’’
Helen said: “He goes to the gym three times a week with his Papa and occasionally with me. He really enjoys going and the relaxed environment there is an advantage.
“We tend to go at the quiet times as otherwise Myles finds it hard to cope with the crowds and loud noises. We’re really grateful for the FANS sponsorship as this has enabled him to enjoy going to the gym and enjoying the facilities whilst getting fit for the world games.”