PARALYMPIC hopeful Craig Boardman, who overcame devastating injuries to become an international athlete, was at Lawn Manor Academy yesterday with the aim of inspiring youngsters into sport.

The 18-year-old wheelchair racer, who won three gold medals at the Junior Para Athletics Championships in Switzerland last summer, was a hit when he introduced the students to his super lightweight racing chair and told them about his life as a professional athlete.

“We recognise that sport is very important for children,” said head teacher Sandra Muir. “Bringing a Team GB athlete into our school is really inspirational for our pupils.”

Seeing someone who had gone through so much and achieved such a lot was even more special.

Craig, who competes in the 200, 100 and 400 metres, is currently third in the world rankings for the T34 category even though he only took up the sport around two years ago.

He was shortlisted for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award and set a new European record at the Switzerland event.

Hopes are high that he will bring home a medal or two in the 2020 Paralympics.

In 2006 his family feared they were going to lose him and doctors held out little hope for his survival after he was hit by an army truck while crossing the road. As a result he suffered brain injuries, a shattered spinal cord, broken ribs and internal injuries.

Craig was put on a life support machine and went through five operations kin which doctors put a dozen titanium bolts into his spine. Two months after the accident he was on his feet and walking with a frame. His first competitive race, the Westminster Mile in 2016, was also his first competitive win.

His visit was organised by Inspired Through Sport, which supports more than 180 athletes by sending them into schools, businesses and community centres for public appearances as real-life role models promoting.

Money raised by the visits goes towards training, coaching fees, help from physiotherapists and dieticians, chiropractors and international competition travel.