Namphon Steele Q&A
Dungannon's Namphon Steele might still be relatively new to disability athletics and sprinting but that isn’t stopping the 15-year-old from setting herself some lofty ambitions.
Fast forward nearly two years and Steele is now out of the pool and on the track as sprinter although success hasn’t deserted the Dungannon teenager. Steele claimed 100m and 200m bronze at last year’s England Athletics Under-17 Championships but insists she’s only getting started at what will hopefully be a long career.
“I only started athletics during last summer because I gave up swimming and thought I needed to do something else to replace it and I’d always done athletics at school,” said Steele. “I just didn’t enjoy swimming anymore and when I don’t enjoy something I don’t want to do it. I still do it for fun but with running I’d always liked it.
“The School Games last year I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, I tripped at the start of the 100m. It was because someone false started and then I got nervous because I started thinking ‘I’ll be the one to do that next’. I would hope to go to a Paralympics but we’ll have to see. I was supposed to go to the Commonwealth Games with swimming but I think it’ll be too soon for running – but one day I hope to make it big.”
Steele’s exploits in both the pool and on the track have seen her selected as an SSE Next Generation ambassador, receiving help and support as she bids to make a name for herself. And after already meeting the most successful British Olympian of all time, Sir Chris Hoy, through the scheme, Steele is adamant it will help her realise her dreams.
“I have been to a workshop for all the SSE Next Generation ambassadors and it was fun meeting all the different people in different sports,” Steele added. “And meeting Sir Chris Hoy was great too – he’s inspirational and it really gave me a lift that I am heading in the right direction.”
What is your proudest sporting achievement?
Winning a gold medal at the Sainsbury UK School Games in the Olympic swimming pool in London 2012 (50M Paralympic).
What is your biggest sporting ambition?
To run for GB in the Paralympics.
Who encourages you most in your sporting career and in what way?
My Dad by being 'Mr Positive' and my coach John Glover by setting me training programmes to follow and always being at Mary Peter's Track no matter how bad the weather is.
How will your SportsAid Award from SSE help you?
Firstly, the money aspect of the award allows me to buy competition spikes, all-weather kit, pay for specialist physio sessions and greatly assists with my travel expenses. Secondly, the workshops are excellent for helping me stay motivated and allowing me to learn from sporting greats like Sir Chris Hoy.
- 5th place 100m & 200m UK School Games 2013.
- Represented N Ireland finishing 4th in 200m & 5th in 100m AAA Championships 2013.
- Ranked no. 1 in GB at 100m & 200T47 U17.
- Previously represented N Ireland in swimming winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the UK School Games, London 2012.