National Dwarf Games title for Morecambe sports champ

Amara Atkinson with Paralympics gold medallist Ellie Simmonds.
Amara Atkinson with Paralympics gold medallist Ellie Simmonds.

A seven-year-old Morecambe girl has been crowned Young Sportswoman of the Year at the National Dwarf Games.

Amara, who was born with achondroplasia – a form of dwarfism which means she will reach a height of around 4ft when she is an adult – took home four gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the event in Birmingham, defeating hundreds of other child athletes from all over Europe.

She loves cycling the most of all the sports she does

Mum Louise Atkinson

She was inspired to sporting success by Ellie Simmonds OBE, the multi Paralympic gold medallist swimmer and patron of games organisers the Dwarf Sports Association UK (DSAuk).

Ellie, who also has achondroplasia, won four gold medals in the Paralympics, two in 2008 in Beijing and two in 2012 in London.

Torrisholme Community Primary School pupil Amara took part in a range of events, including cycling, table tennis, swimming, football, curling, running and archery, at the games at the Alexander Stadium and Aldersley Village Stadium, Birmingham.

Her victories came in the 10m and 20m race, throwing a cricket ball and throwing a frisbee, and she also won a silver in football and bronze in swimming.

“She’s done really well,” said her proud mum Louise Atkinson.“Her confidence has grown so much this year.

“Of course she has to know her limits but at school she wants to do what her friends do.

“She also likes some of the newer sports like new age curling and archery.”

Achondroplasia is a bone growth disorder which causes disproportionate short stature, particularly in the limbs. Amara’s condition was diagnosed soon after she was born.

“In a way she was fortunate because we were able to do things for her,” said Louise.

“We were able to get her a solid pram. We couldn’t leave her in a bouncy chair on her own because it might have compressed her spine.”

Louise said Amara’s condition is different to that of actor and TV presenter Warwick Davis, who has a rare form of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita.

Amara, who will be eight next month, now intends to take on another challenge by cycling the first five miles in a charity Coast 2 Coast bike ride.

She will join around 25 other members of the Dwarf Sports Association at the start of a sponsored Morecambe to Bridlington cycle to raise money for the DSAuk on Friday, July 24.

Louise said: “She loves cycling the most of all the sports she does.

“She’s learned to ride a bike without stablisers and loves riding in Happy Mount Park. Being able to ride a bike independently, allows Amara to be mobile over greater distances than walking, and puts less pressure on her joints and back.”

You can sponsor Amara in the Coast 2 Coast cycle ride at www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Amara_Atkinson http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Amara_Atkinson