Double Paralympic medallist Tom Hamer says that all of his dreams have come true in a whirlwind year.
The former Burnley Bobcat started the campaign with gold in the 200m freestyle at the IPC European Championships in March and went on to claim silver in the 200m S14 freestyle and S14 individual medley at the Rio Paralympic Games, setting British records in both events.
Those achievements saw the 18-year-old shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award, following in the footsteps of previous winners Wayne Rooney, Tom Daley, Andy Murray, Amber Hill and Claudia Fragapane, and he’ll find out on Thursday if he’s been selected in the top three.
“My dreams have all come true,” he said. “It’s quite surreal really and it feels like Christmas has come early. It’s incredible, especially when you think that Wayne Rooney and Andy Murray have been through all this.
“They are really successful sportsmen and they inspire so many people. I hope I can do the same. It would be amazing to make it in to the top three.
“It would be crazy to be part of the event because all the nation is watching. That would be completely surreal because millions tune in to that show to see what the country has achieved.”
He added: “To rub shoulders with other leading athletes would be special too. It’s great to be in the top 10, just being recognised and nominated is an honour, but it would be incredible to make the final three.
“This is definitely the best year of my life so far. To finish the year in the top three would put the icing on the cake. Hopefully there’ll be many more years like this to come.”
Tom is now preparing for the World Championships in Mexico in October while planning ahead for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.