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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
New chair for Games hopeful
Justin Ferlong
Justin Ferlong has enjoyed sport before and since his accident
A table tennis player who hopes to compete in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing is closer to achieving his dream.

Justin Furlong, 23, has been handed a cheque for 1,500 to pay for a streamlined chair which lets him move around more easily when playing the game.

The money was presented by Ian Botham during the cricketer's walk through the south Wales valleys to raise money for a children's hospital in Wales.

Justin, from Abercwmboi, near Aberdare, has been a wheelchair user since a mountain bike accident left him paralysed from the waist down six years ago.

I just want to thank everyone for their support - I'm extremely grateful
Justin Furlong
The standard-issue wheelchair he had been using was too cumbersome to move quickly when playing the sport and he needed a new one which could be adapted.

The donation by Remploy, the UK's biggest employer of disabled people, enabled him to buy a Kuschall K4 chair.

Ian Botham
Ian Botham presented the cheque before continuing his charity walk

Remploy's Merthyr branch also raised 200 for the Noah's Ark Appeal, which Justin handed over to Ian Botham before he set off on the fifth day of the charity walk from the town to Rhondda Heritage Park.

"I've always been a sporty person and after the accident I took up table tennis," said Justin.

"But the chair I had was not quick enough and I needed a chair which I could move around easier in.

"I've got my sights set on the 2008 Paralympics and I hope the new chair will help me achieve this," he said.

Justin, who trains three times a week, also enjoys basketball and fitness training.

"I had a car accident a couple of months ago which has been a bit of a setback, but I am hoping to get back on form really soon and I just want to thank everyone for their support - I'm extremely grateful.

"The children's hospital is such a good cause and it will be an honour to present the money that Remploy have raised through charity events over the last couple of months.

"And after the presentation, I am getting down to some serious training to get my fitness back up and get in shape for the Paralympics," he added.


SEE ALSO:
Botham back on the road
03 Oct 03  |  Wales
Remploy says business is growing
15 Sep 02  |  Business


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