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Rio 2016 Paralympics goal in sight for former Deal & Betteshanger RFC player Matt Emmerson

Matt Emmersonby Kevin Redsull

Former Deal & Betteshanger Rugby Club player Matt Emmerson is closing in on his goal of competing in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The 26-year-old, who lives in Hazelwood Meadow, Sandwich, was forced to give up rugby after a bad knee injury four years ago. It left him with no feeling or control over his left leg below the knee.

But he then took up the sport of paratriathlon and, after winning a bronze medal in the 2011 British Championships, returned home from the world championships in Auckland last month with two gold medals.

Emmerson (pictured) won the men’s TRI-5 category, which is for competitors who have a lower leg impairment.

The event featured a 300m swim – shortened from the normal 750m because of the cold open water conditions – a 20k bike ride and a 5k run. Matt came home in 1hr 1min 7secs, finishing just seven seconds in front of Yan Guanter from France.

And Emmerson, who is a trainee accountant with Reeves and Co LLP in Canterbury, also won gold in the aquathlon which again featured a shortened swim of 300m followed by a 5k run.

He said: "I had been training well beforehand and thought I might been in with a chance of a medal but to come home with two gold medals was a total surprise and an amazing feeling.

"I am now targeting the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil because it will be a great experience to compete in Rio. I would like to thank my family and friends as well as my sponsors Blueseventy, Torq nutrition and Reeves & Co LLP for all their support."

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