Teenager Millie Cass is speeding ahead with her ambitions for Paralympic success - taking delivery of a new bike before honing her skills at a special training camp.
Millie, aged 16, from Whirlow, has been given the racing bike through a new sponsorship deal with a cycling shop, and is due to attend the Team GB training camp at the end of this month.
The cyclist, who has a progressive condition affecting her muscles and nerves, has also begun using carbon leg braces, which have helped to improve her walking and stability.
Millie’s father, David Cass, said his daughter was ‘thrilled’ with the bike, and that her prospects were further buoyed when she achieved three personal bests at a competition in Newport earlier this year.
The bicycle - as well as equipment and mechanical support - was supplied by cycling store Planet X, which has a branch in Templeborough, Rotherham.
“They have two racing teams for men and women, and the women’s team is something they’re focusing on this year,” said solicitor David, 50. “It’s going from strength to strength, and Millie is one of three paracyclists who is receiving sponsorship this year.”
He added: “It’s quite unusual - and a good sign - that they’re willing to provide sponsorship to riders with disabilities.”
Millie has hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, also known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and took up cycling when it became increasingly difficult for her to walk to Silverdale School in Bents Green, where she is a Year 10 pupil.
She quickly showed promise in the sport, and has been selected for the Great Britain Paracycling Youth Development Squad.
Her aim is to compete at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Millie is also due to start work on her GCSEs again, balancing training with exam preparation.
“It’s a tremendously busy time, I don’t know how she juggles the time,” said David.
David said he and Millie’s mother Ann, 48, realised she needed medical attention when she only began walking aged two. A DNA test at Sheffield Children’s Hospital led to a diagnosis a year later.
Millie’s condition causes wasting in the muscles of the foot, lower leg, hand and forearm.