Going full cycle

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BATTLEFIELD man Ronnie Hendrie will become an Olympian in less than 100 days.

The 43-year-old cyclist has been selected as one of Great Britain’s top disabled athletes and will compete in the Special Olympics world summer games in Athens in June.

The event will feature athletes from 185 countries and is the first international meet for the athletes since Shanghai in 2007.

There, he won a bronze in one event and lived up to the Special Olympics’ Oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

During a 10K race he came off his bike twice with a broken pedal and then a puncture.

But he got back on and finished to the cheers of the crowd, even with no chance of winning.

This year Mr Hendrie was selected from 2,500 competitors who competed at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Leicester in July 2009.

His support worker, Ramon Carr believes that “taking part in international competition has boosted Ronnie’s confidence, self-esteem and broadened his horizons.

“When Ronnie meets someone new the first thing he tells them is that he has medals.

“It’s a source of pride for him”.

In the last three national games, Ronnie has managed to win one gold, five silvers and two bronze.

The competitor has been training by cycling around Bellahouston Park and fund-raising by bag packing at supermarkets and car washing.

He spends the rest of his time volunteering with Save the Children.

In just one month, Ronnie’s training will step up a gear when he joins the rest of the squad at a training weekend in Runcorn.

Ronnie got his first bike when he was fourteen while living in a Barnados home.

When he moved into his own flat aged 32, he was given a bike, then discovered the special Olympics cycling club run by Tom Ahara.

Mr Ahara told The Extra: “When you hear Ronnie’s infectious laugh there is no doubt that he loves being on his bike”.

On June 20 he will arrive in Skiathos, Greece to train, acclimatise to the heat and embrace Greek culture.

Just six days later, competition will begin and Ronnie Hendrie will be hoping to add another medal to his collection.

n If you would like to sponsor Ronnie as he takes on the world contact his support worker Ramon Carr on ramoncarr@me.com. .