With only 50 days to go until the start of London 2012, Essex is once again in the sport light as local brother and sister, James and Emma Hollis have been selected to compete for Great Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
James and Emma, from Epping Forest, started swimming from a young age at their local swimming club, showing strong potential from the start.
Emma, who is currently studying at Loughborough University, claimed two world records at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) in 2011 as well as winning 3 Gold and 1 Silver medal at the Midland Regional Zonal Meet. One of her other great achievements was winning a medal in every event entered in European Championships, as well as achieving first British record in 100m breast in April 2008.
Younger Brother James made his debut in international competition at the 2011 IPC European Championships in Berlin. At the 2012 British International Disability Championships in Sheffield, James made history by becoming the first British swimmer to break the minute mark in the 100m Butterfly.
Emma comments: “I am delighted to have been picked. I have worked really hard over the past few years to improve in my sport, something I am immensely proud of, as I am studying full time for my degree as well. Essex has given me so much support over the past year with the Team Essex Ambassador Award, I couldn’t be more grateful. I can’t wait for the Games to start to represent my country and of course Essex.”
James Comments: “I don’t think I have ever been as happy as I was when I was told I had been selected. You put your heart and soul into your training and to be told you will represent your Country – it makes every second worth while.”
Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education, Lifelong Learning & the 2012 Games commented: “This is a hugely exciting moment for Essex. I’m delighted to hear that both Emma and James have been selected and want to share my whole hearted congratulations with them both. They have worked so hard to get to where they are today; I hope that the whole of Essex will join me in supporting them in the build up to, and during the Games.”
As well as being a member of the Team GB, Emma also maintains her role as a Team Essex Ambassador. Established by Essex County Council, the Team Essex Ambassador’s Award provides top athletes in Essex with grants so that they have the best chance to compete in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Recognised by their National Governing Body of Sport, Team Essex Ambassadors work to promote sport across the county, as well as work with Schools and Sports clubs to inspire the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes within Essex.
To find out more about our Team Essex Ambassadors visit www.essexlegacy.org.