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Sharpshooter has Beijing games in his sights

Nathan Milligate is on target for the Paralympics. Picture: PHIL HOUGHTON
Nathan Milligate is on target for the Paralympics. Picture: PHIL HOUGHTON

ARMED with a high powered air-rifle at 10 metres distance, Nathan Milgate expects to fire 50 pellets at a bullseye without once missing the target.

The 18-year-old college student’s guaranteed 100 per cent success rate has earned him selection for the Great Britain squad for the Paralympic Games in Beijing in three years time.

Nathan’s unerring accuracy, achieved in only three years in the sport, is all the more remarkable because he is registered disabled and confined to a wheelchair.

Since the age of seven, he has suffered a condition that has seriously affected his central nervous system. A cycle accident at 14 accelerated the problem and for the past four years he has been in constant pain and unable to walk.

The Canterbury College student, who lives with his parents in Bentley Avenue, Herne Bay, has so impressed the Great Britain selectors that he has become the first recipient of the Kent Paralympian Fund that supports aspiring athletes with disabilities.

Nathan has received a cheque for £2,500 from Stephen Kingsman, chairman of the Denne Group, whose company are backing the Kent County Council’s Sports Development Unit to support disadvantaged athletes.

Nathan said: "I am very proud to receive this money. My overheads are high and this will help me enormously to achieve my aim of representing GB at the Beijing Games and, hopefully, the ultimate reward of a place in the team for the London Olympics in 2012.

"It would be an honour to represent my country on home turf, and it would be a unique experience to win a medal."

Nathan became the top British male shot in competition at Stoke Mandeville earlier this year. He is training hard for five international events next year, including the world championships in Switzerland.

His mother, Maggie Milgate, said: "We are very proud of Nathan and very grateful for the support he has received. It costs £3,000 a year on average for him to attend training and compete in competitions. He is very active, very ambitious, and determined to achieve his ultimate aim of performing at the London Olympics."

The Denne Charitable Trust has allocated £25,000 to the Kent Paralympian Fund, the first of its kind in Britain to help disabled sportsmen and women complete in the Paralympics.

Mr Kingsman said: "Since the trust was set up almost 11 years ago, £250,000 has been raised for local charitable causes.

"The trust is very keen to provide assistance where there is a real need to those disabled people who have the potential to compete in the Games. We shall follow Nathan’s progress with great interest."

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