Eleanor Simmonds 2008

Call to support Walsall’s golden girl as Olympic opener beckons

Eleanor Simmonds 2008

With the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony almost here and the Paralympic Games on the horizon, Walsall’s Mayor is urging residents to get behind borough golden girl Eleanor Simmonds MBE and help make this a year to remember.

Swimmer Eleanor, who won two gold medals in Beijing in 2008, has her first competition in the Paralympic Games on Saturday 1 September.

She is also competing on Monday 3 September, Tuesday 4 September and Saturday 8 September and her life has to completely revolve around her training schedule from hereon in.

Eleanor, who won her medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle swimming events also set a new world record in the 400m freestyle.

The 17-year-old, who received an MBE from the Queen in the New Years Honours List in 2009 and was the youngest person to receive this honour, also became the first swimmer to break a world record at the London Aquatics Centre in March 2012 in the 200m individual medley.

The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Dennis Anson, said: “We’re all looking forward to the Olympics, marvelling at the opening ceremony and cheering on Team GB but here in Walsall we have our very own golden girl to support in the Paralympic Games that follow.

“Eleanor is a brilliant example to our young people with disabilities in the borough as she shows them how determination, a positive attitude and a desire to achieve can make the most amazing things happen.

“She is also an ambassador for young people full stop – many of whom may feel inspired to make something of their lives and follow their dreams after seeing her in action.

“This remarkable young lady is the proud owner of two gold medals already and has her sights set on gold again in London.

“I’m sure we’ll all be glued to our televisions and radios cheering her on and, whatever the result, Eleanor is a clear winner in our eyes.

“This year is a special one for so many reasons – we’ve had the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch in Walsall and now the Olympics and Paralympic Games, 2012 is really going to be a year to remember for us all.”

Eleanor, whose family home is in Aldridge, was born with achondroplasia, commonly known as dwarfism.