A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student has been handed a dream opportunity by Olympic legend Michael Johnson to attend his elite performance centre in the USA.
Freya Levy, 20, is one of 12 athletes from around the world selected by the four-time Olympic gold medallist and a panel of experts in youth leadership, sport and social change to be part of his Positive Track course in Dallas, Texas, this month.
The seven-day programme begins on May 14, with Freya arriving straight from Germany where she is competing in the European Under 25 Wheelchair Basketball Championship for Great Britain.
Freya, who overcame muscular dystrophy to represent GB and has been an ambassador for Panathlon charity for the past three years, said: “I feel incredibly honoured to be chosen to be part of the Positive Track programme.
“To go to an elite, top-level performance centre and learn from a former Olympic legend such as Michael Johnson is an incredible opportunity.
“I’m hoping the lessons I can learn will help me as I continue to pursue accessibility for disabled sport back in the UK.
“There is so much more I want to do in this area and I am so excited that Michael Johnson Positive Track will help me achieve it.”
Following the course in Dallas, Positive Track and Panathlon will work with Freya through a personalised 12-month plan.
Johnson said: “These young people are already doing incredible things in their communities.
“They are truly inspiring and have shown me the incredible plans they have for their communities, but which they need help to implement.
“We will be here to give them that help and cannot wait to see what they can achieve “.
Freya was submitted by Panathlon to partner organisation Coaches Across Continents for selection due to her involvement with the charity over the past three years, after participating in event days and acting as a role model for primary school children in the Panathlon programme.
Freya said she became involved with Panathlon to ensure disabled children got an opportunity to participate in competitive sport with able-bodied children.
“When I was first disabled and in a mainstream school, PE was really limited,” she said.
“I played table tennis, but the teachers didn’t really know what to do with me.
“If Panathlon had been available to me when I was first looking at sport in school, it would have helped me a lot for sure at a young age.”
Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s COO, explained: “Her involvement in Panathlon and the community sees her as a real role model.
“We will work with her upon her return from the USA on delivering further opportunities and impacting on young people as part of the MJPT scheme and Panathlon’s work.”
Freya has trained with the Great Britain senior women’s wheelchair basketball squad for the past four years and her main goal is to take part in the Paralympics.