By Will Castle, Sportsbeat

Bristol sprint sensation Leon Serning has been selected for a prestigious sporting programme and will follow the likes of Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold, and Ade Adepitan.

Track star Serning, who been singled out by charity SportsAid as an athlete with the potential to reach the very top, is hellbent on establishing himself on the national circuit as he seeks to bounce back from injury with a bang.

The 18-year-old competes in the T47 and F46 classes which relate to ambulant disabilities, has already shown signs of promise in athletics, shining in a sport he initially took up during COVID-19 as a pastime.

After medalling at a variety of national junior events, he has now set his sights on stamping his mark at senior level - with the Senior Para Championships in Birmingham firmly in his gaze.

“I'm really looking to medal and place highly with the seniors in the National Championships this year,” Serning van der Linde said, speaking on his future goals.

“My overall ambition definitely has to be going to the Paralympics and medalling - that's the overall goal. I think LA 28 is where I'll be in prime fitness and athletic ability.”

Serning is one of 50 athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

While still only in sixth form, attending SGS College in Gloucestershire, Serning is already exceeding expectations, starring at the BUCS Athletics Indoor Championships against the top athletes of British universities.

With the runner only in the embryonic stages of his career, his performance at BUCS is his proudest athletic achievement thus far.

“I think my biggest achievement came this winter, when I medalled at BUCS,” Serning added.

“I'm still in college in year 13, so I didn't have much expectation of going into BUCS because obviously that's the big league with the senior athletes.

“I competed in the 60m, and I managed to get third place in that.”

Nominated SportsAid athletes like Serning are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities.

“SportsAid have helped me immensely,” Serning added. “Firstly, with a grant, which has just enabled me to travel to competitions as well as training, which is just crucial to put myself on the map.

“They also provide workshops, which are really informative on just how to be a better athlete.

“Without it, I would be much more limited in traveling to competitions. For instance, I've got a couple national championships coming up in Birmingham, a UK champs in Manchester.

“Those would be really hard to get to if I didn't get the grant money from SportsAid.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.