Robert races to glory

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A teenager is determined not to let a severe medical condition get in the way of him carrying the Olympic torch through Buxton on June 29.

Robert Abraham, 16, who attends Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, was nominated for his swimming achievements despite having a physical disability.

Robert, of Breadsall, whose ambition is to one day compete in the Paralympics, was so excited when he was chosen: “I was jumping everywhere! I can’t wait to carry the torch.”

His mum Marie added: “To think he is one of only 8,000 people chosen is absolutely wonderful. I am so proud.”

Robert, who swims for Long Eaton and Nova Centurion, was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism which prevents the arm and leg bones from growing.

His disability has caused other bone conditions and sometimes he has to use a wheelchair due to the pain.

Marie said that swimming helps Robert avoid certain health complications, but his passion is what has helped him succeed.

So far this year Robert has won several gold medals and has competed internationally, swimming at times similar to those in the Paralympics.

Next year he will compete in the Dwarf World Games in America, following his achievements in Ireland three years ago.

With his stepdad currently battling a serious illness, Robert has stayed focussed.

Marie said: “On top of swimming, he took part in the Schools Athletics Competition at the Olympic Stadium in May and did really well.”

Marie has nothing but praise for Ecclesbourne School, who are taking students to Buxton to cheer him on.

She said: “I can’t fault them. They are such an inclusive, supportive and encouraging school and have done so much for us.

“Robert has flourished since starting there and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.”