Canadian athlete visits former school

Jason visited pupils at Jordanstown School.

Another Paralympian returned home this week when he visited his old school in Jordanstown - but this athlete now competes for Team Canada.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012
  • olympics
  • Sport

Jason Dunkerley, took silver in the 5000 metres and a bronze in the 1500 metres in running with his guide at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 35-year-old has been blind since birth.

He has won two silver medals and a bronze in the past three previous Paralympic Games, taking part at Sydney, Athens and Beijing.

Born in Newtownards and educated in Jordanstown, Jason competed at the games for Canada after his family moved there in 1991.

On Wednesday he said he was delighted to be back where his running career began.

"It was a big part of my life, my brother's life, just the friends and teachers that you had like Mrs Shannon, Miss Gibson they are still here, it is amazing," Jason said.

"I am still close to the school, they shape your memories and experiences so I owe it to them and the school for everything."

It has been 21 years since he was a pupil in Jordanstown, but Jason left a lasting impression, particularly on his former PE teacher Myrtle Shannon.

"The main thing I remember about Jason was having to run after him we could hardly keep up with him, it hasn't surpried me that he has reached this very high level of competition," she said.

Despite being 35 years old and having four Games under his belt, he says he hasn't ruled out competing in Rio.

"I am definitely going to have a rest first, four years is a long time. I still think my best running is ahead of me so as long as you feel that way its hard to stop and you want to go as far as you can go," he said.

During his visit he may just have inspired a new generation of athletes, with one pupil saying he has inspired them to run despite suffering from asthma.