Chris 'sprints' to the finish

Thirteen year old, Christopher Ash is making big strides in the world of athletics. The Albany Academy student recently qualified for the Northern Athletics Indoor championships held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Chris who has Chiari Malformation with Syringomyelia could choose to run against physically challenged competitors but choses to run in able-bodied races. Chiari malformation is a condition were the brain descends through an opening in the base of the skull into what should be a space in the spinal cord. This can cause compression of the brain which can lead to symptoms including pain and tingling in the limbs, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, visual disturbances, problems swallowing, pressure headaches, which worsen when straining, laughing or coughing. Syringomyelia is a disorder affecting the nervous system where fluid-filled cavities develop inside the spinal cord.

At Sheffield Chris rose to the challenge competing in the 200m and 60m despite suffering with a chest infection. Chris managed to get through to the semi-finals in 200m and through to Final in 60m (finished joint 5th). These were fantastic achievements and the experience has spurred Chris on to achieve more in the sport that he loves. Chris said, “I am really pleased with my performance. I am a member of Horwich RMI Club, and train 4 to 5 times a week including two sessions on the track. I specialise in distances 200m and under and just want to keep improving. My next major competition is the Lancashire Championships in April and I hope to do as well as possible in this.”

Christopher’s mum, Heather, said “I am immensely proud of Christopher. He has overcome so much and to see him compete at such a high level is a wonderful experience. I am excited to see where the sport takes him in the future.

Year 8 and 9Pastoral Officer at Albany Academy, Sarah Anderson, said, “we are very proud of Chris he is very dedicated to his chosen sport and we will follow his progress closely.”