SHAUN’S AN INSPIRATION – OFFICIAL!
New Milton Table Tennis Club’s only wheelchair player Shaun Newcomb was recently honoured by the Spinal Injuries Association with their Sports and Recreation Achievement Award. This award is presented to an individual who has provided inspiration to others through their outstanding sporting or recreational achievements.
Shaun is a full time wheelchair user, currently a UKCC Level 2 table tennis coach who is working towards completion of his UKCC Level 3 coaching qualification. While Shaun coaches all ages and abilities, he specialises in coaching athletes with a disability, working from beginner standard to Elite level. Shaun was selected to be the coach for the EAD (Elite Athletes with a Disability) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and in December 2013 he was the GB Team Manager and Head Coach at the World Championships for Players with Learning Disabilities (INAS) in Hong Kong. In August 2014 he was Team Manager and Head Coach at the World Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville where he also runs the Table Tennis event in the annual Inter Spinal Unit Games. Shaun works with the Table Tennis England Association as the South/South East Regional Disability Officer and runs table tennis sessions for rehabilitation in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Injuries Centre in Salisbury. In addition, he also coaches at New Milton Table Tennis Club and with a Regional Disability Squad in Maidenhead. Shaun also just happens to be Vice President and Development Officer of the New Milton Club.
He was nominated by Table Tennis England’s South West Development Officer Lisa Williams for his work in coaching and inspiring disabled athletes, and he was short-listed to the final three for the Sport and Recreation Achievement Award. As a short-listed nominee, Shaun was invited to attend the “Rebuilding Lives” Awards Ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel where the awards were presented by Channel 4 Countdown’s Susie Dent.
Susie addressed guests at the beginning of the evening with words such as “passion” and “inspiration”, just two of the very fitting anagrams that she had found within the charity’s name. Passion and inspiration were evident by the bucket load as the 2015 winners were announced during the course of the evening.
A surprised and humbled Shaun said after the ceremony: “The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is a marvellous organisation whose strap-line is “Rebuilding Lives After Spinal Cord Injury”. Over the years the SIA have provided me with excellent support and invaluable information, and I became a life member soon after my injury. I am honoured to have been given their “Sports and Recreation Achievement Award”, when there are so many amazing people across the sporting spectrum, giving their time to inspire those with a spinal injury in sport”.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Shaun has been selected along with another colleague by the BTTAD (British Table Tennis Association for People With Disabilities) to undertake a course to become a Medical Classifier for table tennis. Currently there are no qualified classifiers in the UK so any new GB athletes have to travel abroad to be assessed and classified. Shaun will undertake the training in Vejle, Denmark in early October, adding yet another string to his multi-faceted bow.