Community helps Kenilworth teen win three medals

Zien Zhou (left) won three medals at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships  in Switzerland. Photo by Tony Zhou
Zien Zhou (left) won three medals at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Switzerland. Photo by Tony Zhou

A Kenilworth teenager has won two gold medals and a silver medal for Britain, partly thanks to a successful fundraising campaign for a new racing wheelchair.

In March a fundraising campaign was launched to help buy Zien Zhou, who is 17 and has Cerebral Palsy, a new wheelchair to help him continue training and competing in the hope that he will make it onto Team GB for the 2020 paralympics in Tokyo.

Jack Gibson, Fitness Worx director with Zien Zhou. Photo by Fitness Worx

Jack Gibson, Fitness Worx director with Zien Zhou. Photo by Fitness Worx

The campaign was pushed forward by Fitness Worx in Kenilworth, where Zien also trains.

Thanks to their efforts, publicity from the Kenilworth Weekly News and a kind anonymous donation of £4,000, the £5,000 target was reached within a week.

Zien is a member of British Athletics’ Paralympic Academy and competes in wheelchair races across the country. He also trains at Coventry Godiva alongside world record holder Kare Adenegan.

This month he was selected to compete on behalf of the British Athletics team at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Switzerland.

Zien went on to win two gold medals in the U20 Men’s T33-34 100m and in the U20 Men’s 200m and a silver medal in the U20 Men’s T33-34 400m.

After receiving his third medal Zien said: “It is lovely to round off the championships how we started them, with a gold medal. I’d like to thank everyone at British Athletics for having the confidence to select me. It has been such an honour to represent my country at these championships.

“I’d also like to thank my coach Job King; although he’s not here in Nottwil, he’s been contacting me throughout the championships.”

Speaking about future plans Zien said: “I would like to work with my coach Job King in the training and competitions in future. Meanwhile, I will also focus on my A level exam in 2020.

“Many people would mention Tokyo 2020 when they see three medals from World Juniors. It is easy to say and promise and I won’t say anything big at the moment.

“What I would say is that I would commit myself to, focus on, have faith in and balance what I have been doing.”

Tony Zhou, Zien’s father, said: “It has been such a busy season for Zien and us. He has been doing wheelchair racing for four years now.

“We are proud of him and what he does. We definitely take pride in the opportunities for Zien to represent our country and compete internationally for Britain in future.

“The new wheelchair was definitely a big support to Zien. With his new racing wheelchair, Zien has won his third trophy from London Mini Marathon, two gold medals from Manchester

Senior Championships, and two golds and one silver medal from the World Junior Championships in Switzerland.

“We are so grateful to the support to this young chap from the community and all walks of society and we are equally proud of Zien and his commitment in his work.

“It has been a honour for Zien to be selected by British Athletics to represent the country.”

Jack Gibson, director at Fitness Worx, said: “What an achievement it is for Zien to win the three medals.

“As we see here at Fitness Worx on a daily basis, his determination to succeed has once again shown. You will not meet another human like Zien. His passion for sport runs through his veins.”