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GL events UK is thrilled to have nominated Batonbearers for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay journey through England, which is taking place in the run up to Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

One of those selected is twenty-five-year-old, Anthony Hibbard, who is a member of the GB Special Olympics Ski Team and an apprentice with The ReUsers in Sutton Coldfield, one of the incredible social enterprises which form part of GL events’ social value partner, Jericho. Living with autism and dyslexia, Anthony has been nominated by his colleagues at Jericho not only because of his involvement in, and love of sport, but also because of the impressive strides he has made during his apprenticeship in overcoming some of the challenges he faces every day, as a young adult living with a hidden disability.

Reflecting on his fantastic achievements thus far, Anthony comments; “I feel like l have a big connection with sport – not just Skiing which is my main sport, but many other sports as well. I joined the Special Olympics at the age of 16 as an apprentice on the GB Skiing Team and since 2020, I’ve competed with them in Switzerland. It was an amazing experience, and our shared love of the sport helped me connect with the other members of the team. Alongside this, I have also trained with the Special Olympics UK swimming team, every week and I won a gold medal in 2017 in the 100m sprint. Aside from competitive sport, I also really enjoy basketball which encouraged me to take  a BTEC in Sports. I also have a bit of a connection with the Commonwealth Games already, having previously had a role as a volunteer, so to now be chosen as a Batonbearer is really fantastic.”

I was thrilled to achieve several medals from the Special Olympics in which I’ve already represented the UK. It was a big achievement to get onto the GB team for the Winter Games and I will definitely do my best to compete with my team at the next Games. I’ve had quite a lot of help and lessons to prepare me, so fingers crossed I can bring home another medal. Whatever happens, it will be an incredible experience!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm proud to represent the Commonwealth's autism community and the disabled community.

Anthony HibbardGB Special Olympics West Midlands Ski team and apprentice with Jericho’s Re-users

When asked how sport, and the Commonwealth Games in particular, makes him feel, Anthony describes the positive impact which sport has on himself, and other young people, whether neuro-typical or not. “I think sport make you feel strong, happy and proud. It bring people together and creates a bond which is really important especially if you don’t necessarily find communication that easy. I am excited about the Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with and I want to represent the autism Commonwealth community and the disabled community.”

Anthony is quite open about the challenges that he has faced and continues to face, but also how the support which he has received, and his time with Jericho, has helped him develop new skills, and gain confidence for the future. “I have autism and dyslexia and I didn’t think I was very good at sport when I was younger. I couldn’t read or write very well either which made effective communication hard. I have taken part in a number of programmes that have helped me to improve things like my balance and co-ordination, as well as my communication. As a result, my confidence in my sporting ability has really increased.

I love sport but developing my personal skills is definitely the next step for me. Through my apprenticeship with Jericho, I hope to gain  my Customer Service Qualification and eventually would like to work in a sports retail shop where I can combine my love of sport, and my communication skills.”

GL events UK wishes Anthony every success with his future endeavours, particularly during his Batonbearer journey. For more updates on some of the incredible individuals and organisations that GL events UK is working with, please click here.