Meet Rhys: YoYP Ambassador

Rhys is a 16-year-old student at Notre Dame High School in Greenock and lives with six disabilities. With the help of dedicated health care professionals and school teachers he receives the support he needs to attend mainstream school, allowing him to gain the qualifications he wishes to achieve.

Rhys was never able to play like other children and has made his main priority in life to steer away from illness while living a happy and healthy life, but his difficulties in avoiding illness have meant his opportunity to meet new people and make new friends has been restricted.

Boxing has become a passion for Rhys, he is the first Para-disabled boxer who boxes mainstream in the UK. Rhys has had to overcome numerous obstacles in and outside of the ring, after initially being denied the opportunity to box due to concerns for his health. He and his family campaigned after he was given the green light by health professionals that he could box safely and their determination eventually paid off. Rhys now has extensive achievements as he’s gone on to win multiple Scottish titles and medals.

Although happy with his achievements, Rhys still believes that there is a lack of support for people with disabilities in sport. After being described as a “pioneer” by Scottish Disability Sport, Rhys aims to strive for equality, inclusion and acceptance in sport, encouraging more disabled young people to get involved.

Rhys has been selected to be a member of SportScotland and Young Scot’s Young People’s Sports Panel and is now an Ambassador for the Year of Young People 2018.

I never thought that I would be selected, and I was overjoyed. I am treated very well and now have opportunities and friendships I could only have ever dreamed of before.

As a proud ambassador for the Year of Young People 2018, Rhys would love to get people from all walks of life, able bodied or disabled, involved in sport – and boxing in particular. He would like to see complete inclusion in high performance centres to give everyone the opportunity to challenge themselves in sport.