Paralympian in the making wins award
Double amputee Malik, 11, honoured for mini Paralympic achievements
AN INSPIRATIONAL 11-year-old double amputee has been honoured for his achievements in a mini Paralympics for children.
Malik Berbiche, from Harefield, was highly commended in the prestigious 2014 Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Panathlon Challenge.
It was held in the Olympic Gallery at John Lewis Stratford City, next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, which played host to the Paralympic champions of London 2012.
The Harefield Academy student, who lost part of his left leg and left arm in a coach accident, was selected for the award from more than 4,000 disabled young people taking part in the Panathlon – hailed a mini Paralympics.
Malik’s mother and younger sister also lost limbs in the same coach accident when a double-decker National Express coach overturned on a slip road linking the M4 to the M25 near Heathrow in January 2007.
The crash claimed the lives of three people and injured 65 others.
Malik started at his secondary school in Northwood Way, Harefield, this year, and before that he went to Coteford Junior School in Fore Street, Eastcote, which already has two Paralympians among its former pupils – double gold medal winning dressage rider Natasha Baker MBE and silver medallist, wheelchair tennis player, Andrew Lapthorne.
His teacher at Coteford, Kate Pendred said: “This is amazing for Malik. He is an amazing boy. We’re very proud of him. When he first came to us he wasn’t interested in doing any sport at all. He had to be persuaded to get involved in sport and Panathlon but, when he did, he was brilliant at it.”
In 2013, Malik was fitted with a prosthetic blade that he now wears for any sport that involves running.
“Every year he has an operation on his leg as it grows and he just gets fed up being in his wheelchair for a few weeks as he recovers,” Ms Pendred said. “It’s not unusual to see him playing football with the other boys and throwing himself around in goal.
“His ambition is to become a Paralympian and we’d be so proud of him if that is what happens.”
Panathlon ambassador, British swimmer Liz Johnson, said she could see a Paralympic future for the sporty youngster.
“The great thing about Panathlon is that it provides sporting opportunities to people with all types of disabilities, but not all of them have impairments that are eligible for the Paralympics.
“Malik’s is – so he can legitimately set his sights on being a Paralympian,” she said.
n INSPIRATIONAL: Malik Berbiche has been highly commended in the prestigious 2014 Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Panathlon Challenge