IT was all smiles in Celtic Park this week as Martin Perry signed on to be an official Disability Sports Ambassador for Celtic FC Foundation for season 2015/2016.
Martin is a 20-year-old Para Table Tennis player who is currently in the GB Performance Pathways Squad with aspirations to qualify and be selected to compete at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016. He plays table tennis with a specially made prosthetic arm with a table tennis bat attached.
Martin, from Paisley, was born three months premature without either forearm or hands and without the bottom part of his left leg, so uses a prosthetic leg.
He started playing table tennis four years ago at the Scottish Disability Sport summer camp where he was identified to attend by the SDS Regional Manager. He was then invited to attend Drumchapel Table Tennis Club where he started playing competitively.
Three years ago he was selected as part of the Scottish Disability Table Tennis Squad and subsequently progressed to the GB Pathways Squad.
Martin, who also enjoys coaching younger players at Drumchapel Table Tennis Club as a volunteer, is studying Sport Development at the University of the West of Scotland and has aspirations to become a PE teacher.
He has been identified by the GB Para Table Tennis Team as a player with international potential and has competed for GB four times in international competitions across Europe, winning several medals while competing.
In his role as official Disability Sports Ambassador, Martin will focus on promoting Celtic FC Foundation’s work within disability sport as well as acting as a champion for people with disabilities and being a positive role model.
On his appointment Martin said: “It is a great privilege to be named as the Celtic FC Foundation’s Disability Sports Ambassador.
“To be in this position and to promote the work of the foundation all over the world through table tennis, brings me a great sense of pride and honour.
“I look forward to the opportunities and work we will do together and in partnership. I am truly excited for what is to come in the future with Celtic FC Foundation and myself.”
It is hoped that Martin’s enthusiasm and commitment to his sport will encourage other young people with disabilities to participate in Celtic FC Foundation’s grass roots disability sports projects.
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said:”“Martin is an example to us all and throughout his life, the way in which he has tackled personal adversity is an absolute inspiration.
“I am delighted to welcome Martin to Celtic and I know he will be a fantastic and very influential Ambassador for everything we do in promoting sport and opportunity for all.”
Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, added: “Martin Perry joining us as our second ambassador is fantastic. He’ll be doing different work from Jay Beatty but he’ll still be promoting all that we do within the disability sports sector for children and young people and I am delighted that he is joining us.
“Martin is an inspiration to those who encounter him. We’ve worked closely with him for over a year and he’s a great example to everyone round about him. He is completely professional and never once have I heard him complain about his own situation.
“My hope is that his efforts will raise our profile in this sector in the coming year and inspire other children and young people with similar complex physical disabilities.
“He’s shown that it’s ability that counts and nothing else. I’d like to welcome him on board.”
For more information on the work of Celtic FC Foundation, please contact us at [email protected]