Spalding teaching assistant to shoot, serve and smash at British Transplant Games

TAKING AIM: Sir John Gleed School teaching assistant Sam Newton sets his sights on a haul of gold medals at the British Transplant Games in Liverpool at the end of July.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
TAKING AIM: Sir John Gleed School teaching assistant Sam Newton sets his sights on a haul of gold medals at the British Transplant Games in Liverpool at the end of July. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Great Britain’s squad for next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is close to being finalised.

But Spalding teaching assistant Sam Newton (35) is on course for success just days before the world’s greatest sporting event gets under way in South America on August 3.

Sam, who works at Sir John Gleed School, Spalding, has been chosen for the archery, volleyball and badminton competitions at the British Transplant Games in Liverpool from July 28 to 31 after his kidney and pancreas transplant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in February 2014.

“My badminton skills are atrocious but one of the guys who didn’t have a partner asked me to play doubles with him.

“I used to play a bit of badminton when I helped run a youth club in Spalding, but whilst I’m quite a good archer and volleyball player, the reason I’m playing badminton is all about embracing the true spirit of the British Transplant Games.”

It will be Sam’s third shot at success in the games, founded in 1978 for ‘blooming miracles’ who have been encouraged to regain their fitness after transplant surgery.

DOUBLE GOLD: Sam Newton won gold medals in archery and team volleyball at the 2015 British Transplant Games in Newcastle/Gateshead.

DOUBLE GOLD: Sam Newton won gold medals in archery and team volleyball at the 2015 British Transplant Games in Newcastle/Gateshead.

In 2014, Sam won individual archery and team volleyball golds for Addenbrooke’s when the Transplant Games were held in Bolton.

A year later, he repeated his success in Newcastle/Gateshead where Addenbrooke’s also won the overall team prize for the first time ever.

Sam said: “Since the last Transplant Games, I’ve had another injection on the left shoulder to give me some more movement in it.

“I’m also doing physio therapy every night and I have stretching exercises I can do to give me a better range of movement.

My badminton skills are atrocious but the reason I’m playing is all about embracing the true spirit of the British Transplant Games

Spalding teaching assistant Sam Newton

“But I’ve had to relearn what’s normal for my body again, with the difference this time that I’m doing a sport in badminton that I’m not very good at.”

Up to 900 athletes will compete in about 25 sports and Sam said: “I have family who live in Liverpool and it would be nice to see them.”

Double gold for Sam on the Tyne

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