Par­a­lympian in the mak­ing wins award

Dou­ble am­putee Ma­lik, 11, hon­oured for mini Par­a­lympic achieve­ments

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Zoe Drewett zoe.drewett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

Con­trib­uted

n IN­SPI­RA­TIONAL: Ma­lik Ber­biche has been highly com­mended in the pres­ti­gious 2014 Jack Petchey Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment Awards at the Panathlon Chal­lenge

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