Shot put star Zamparelli has medals on his mind

The seven-time national champion is looking to take his domestic success onto the international stage

Fabio Zamparelli is already a seven-time national champion across shot put and discus in his F20 para-athletics classification (Fabio Zamparelli)

By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat

Truro shot put star Fabio Zamparelli has medals on his mind as he continues his meteoric rise in the sport.

The 19-year-old is already a seven-time national champion across shot put and discus in his F20 para-athletics classification - for those with intellectual impairments - and has been UK No.1 for three years in his preferred event.

Having conquered the domestic scene and fresh from a first warm weather training camp in Cyprus, Zamparelli – who trains in the Midlands – is now eyeing up the opportunity to go global.

The SportsAid and Hargreaves Foundation-funded star, speaking ahead of SportsAid Week 2023, said: “I’m targeting the World Championships and Paralympics and delivering an international medal-winning performance – I want to be an international world champion.

“Living in Truro is a long way from training in Coventry or Loughborough, so SportsAid funding is essential because it helps with the cost of travelling, accommodation for training camps and competitions.

“Cyprus was amazing, I really learned a lot. I improved my social skills, I loved being part of a squad and spending time with like-minded athletes.

“Before I went to Cyprus, my coach and I set some goals to plan my own training. We set a timeframe and because of that, that was one of the goals that we had to do.

“I also worked on my shot put technique, and it was really good because I consistently did good throws.”

SportsAid Week 2023 is coming, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.

This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.

The theme of ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ is an opportunity for the charity’s partners to highlight their own work in this area during SportsAid Week, with SportsAid athletes recently revealing that accessibility and the cost of sport are the issues they care most passionately about.

It will also open up discussions on the progress being made, as well as the challenges faced, in the sports sector.

And Zamparelli, knows just as well as anyone how important inclusion can be.

“Before sport I was very lonely and excluded from any opportunities. I felt very isolated and people would never give me a chance to show them who I truly was,” said Zamparelli, who is funded by SportsAid and commercial partner the Hargreaves Foundation.

“They would judge me on my disabilities and not my capabilities.

“Being part of my sport has allowed my true qualities to shine through, I am part of a community that believes in me and brings the best out of me and supports me through things.

“Through sport I am able to achieve other things such as a career as an athlete, but also a career after sport in the form of a coach or teaching assistant.

“Being given opportunities like anyone else is key to being a valued member of society and having a purpose.”

Zamparelli has ultimately proven a dab hand in the shot put circle, but his sporting journey did not start with track and field.

The teenager’s first sporting love was rugby, though a chance move to athletics has helped him grow as a sportsman and a person.

He added: “I started athletics during the off-season. In terms of rugby and keeping fit I started out doing the 200m and 400m, but I wanted to give shot put a go and when I tried it out, I knew it was the event for me.

“Athletics has done a lot for me, it’s helped me quite a lot. Because of that, it’s made me communicate with other athletes better and get to know them better.

“I enjoyed having training routines - I train six days a week. I also enjoy travelling to training camps and meeting new people. I like to learn and get better at things, and sport makes me feel good about myself.

“My sport challenges me and I really enjoy that.”

SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk