Talented table tennis star Felicity Pickard has been given a boost by Burnley Leisure in support of her athletic career.
The 22-year-old, who has her eyes firmly set on Tokyo Paralympics 2020, has been given full access to the wide range of facilities on offer at Padiham and St Peter’s leisure centres.
As a professional player, Felicity trains six times a week and leisure bosses hope the use of the gym will help Felicity reach her full potential.
Burnley Leisure assistant manager Garry Stein said: “We’re proud to support Felicity and it has been great to watch her flourish as an athlete.
“She is an inspiration to all of us and shows what can be achieved through hard work and dedication to training. We hope access to our facilities will help Felicity on the fast track to Olympic success.”
Having been keen on sport from an early stage, Felicity started playing table tennis in 2010 after having tried a range of different sports including boccia and swimming.
She made her international debut at the Czech Open a year later and has been dominating league tables ever since.
Felicity said: “I have always wanted to achieve something, and I found I could do that with table tennis. I started playing table tennis seriously after I was spotted as potential player by a disability table tennis coach during a school visit.
“I am currently training for the upcoming championships and I’m delighted that I can use the great facilities at Padiham Leisure Centre.”
The young athlete from Burnley, who was born with cerebral palsy, is ranked number one in the world for under 23 at table tennis class 6. She is also the national champion for class 6 – 11 and ranked number one in the UK.
Felicity battled with the best in the Belgian Open last year and won the competition, but unfortunately she missed out on qualification for the Rio Paralympics.
Felicity is now training hard to take part in Tokyo Paralympics 2020 and hopes to scoop the medal at the European Championship in September.
Felicity is not only an inspirational athlete, but also an advocate for disability sport encouraging others to take it up.
For her contribution in helping other disable people play table tennis, Felicity was named the young volunteer of the year at Burnley Sports Awards in 2011.