Eden Rainbow Cooper Wins the 2016
Michael Austin Harlick Award

The winner of the 2016 Michael Austin Harlick Award for Outstanding Sports Person of the Year for disability sport is Eden Rainbow Cooper. 

Eden arrived at Portchester Community School at the beginning of Year 7 as a student with little experience of competitive sporting opportunities and a lack of exposure to disability sports.   However, after being selected by the school to attend the ‘Playground to Podium Scheme’ it was very clearly evident that Eden was a student with immense physical ability.  Eden displayed a real talent for wheelchair athletics and following her participation in the scheme quickly became a member of the Weir Archer Academy. Eden has regularly traveled to Richmond Park in London three times a week over the past four years, where she has trained under the guidance of Jenny Archer as she has strived to improve and progress in her chosen activity. This has shown outstanding commitment and dedication from Eden and also her family who have racked up some serious mileage! 

Eden is now regarded as one of the top young prospects in the country.   In the last year Eden has gained national recognition, having been selected to represent Great Britain.  She has travelled to both Brazil and Switzerland to represent the nation.  Eden spent a week in Brazil participating in their Schools National Championships, successfully winning 3 gold medals in the 100m, 400m and 1500m.   Eden was also selected by Great Britain to participate in the Diamond league meeting in Zurich, winning the U20 women's 400m wheelchair race.  At this event Eden competed in front of 20,000 spectators – her first real taste of a large crowd. Eden also participated in the UK school games, as a talented 15 year old and gained a silver medal in the 800m.  Eden is currently ranked as the world’s fastest Under 17 female wheelchair athlete for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m.  This year Eden also achieved the Paralympic 'B' qualifying standard in the 100m.   Within the last week Eden has been selected as part of the National Paralympic Talent development squad.  As one of only 20 athletes in the country to be selected from all Paralympic Sports this further highlights and recognizes the potential that Eden has of becoming a future British Paralympian. 

It has been a privilege to be part of Eden’s sporting journey and we wish her all the best for her future. 

Mr D Smith 

Head of PE