A POWERLIFTER whose parents were told he would never make a valuable contribution to society will represent Great Britain in the Special Olympics.
Daniel McGauley, 25, from Highwoods, Colchester, was only given a year to live when he was born, and has Down’s Syndrome, autism and is deaf in one ear.
He has been through three major heart operations, 29 operations on his ears and was in a wheelchair until he was eight.
Daniel, who only started powerlifting seriously 18 months ago, will to go to Canada on November 29 to compete in the competition.
His mum, Judith, said: “Becoming a powerlifter has opened up a new world for him.
“He has worked so hard and is training every day for the Games.
“It has been difficult for him because of the concentration needed in competitions, but he is determined to do well and just loves the applause on the platform.
“We never thought he would be able to achieve so much, as he was only given a year to live when he was born and we were told he would never make a valuable contribution in society. We had to fight for him to have surgery.
“Mentally, he is at the level of a five-year-old and one of his favourite things is Thomas the Tank Engine.
“Although he still needs a lot of support and can’t live independently, powerlifting has enabled him to become part of the adult world.”
The trip was made possible thanks to a £1,500 grant from the Essex Community Foundation, through the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund and the Annabel and Gerald Malton Charitable Fund.
Daniel, the youngest of four children, went to Doucecroft School in Colchester for autistic children and now attends Penny Meadow in Marks Tey, a centre for adults with special needs.
Daniel's exercise regime
DANIEL is the only powerlifter to represent Great Britain at the Games.
He became interested in powerlifting when he started going to the gym to improve his fitness.
He trains five days a week for up to 90 minutes a session at Hamiltons gym, on Severalls Business Park, Colchester, as well as in the gym in his parents’ shed.
He takes part in all three powerlifting disciplines – squat, bench press and deadlift.
Daniel, who weighs 57 kilos and is 5ft 1ins tall, quickly started to excel in the sport, winning competitions and medals in events throughout the UK.
He qualified for the Games after a competition in Bradfield last year when he managed 80 kilos for deadlift, 67.5 kilos for benchpress and 75 kilos for squat.
He will be travelling to Canada with his coach Tiffany Crocker and his mum will go as his carer to help with his medical needs.
Dad Pete will be following his progress from home.