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Photos courtesy GoalballGB

"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Football manager

Anna Sharkey

Brother and sister selected for the Paralympics

As British Goalball returns to the Paralympic fold after a 12 year absence, brother and sister, Michael and Anna Sharkey are delighted to be part of it.

Equality has been restored in the Starkey household with Michael gaining selection in the Men’s goalball team for the Paralympics. His sister Anna had already been selected for women’s goalball.

Anna says of the Paralympics: “The Paralympics are just this incredible opportunity. This is such an amazing chance that all I want to do is go and play the best goalball that I can play. It is such a privilege to be playing against the best teams in the world, these young talented athletes who are so good at what they do and to be in that arena and competing with them is a real privilege. I want to come away thinking that I did everything I could to get the best result I could in the Paralympics. And just to feel so honoured to be there”.

Anna is a follower of Jesus Christ: “I went along to a Spring Harvest and it was incredibly inspiring to know that I could actually have a relationship with God. I think the difference it makes is that you have no fear. To know Jesus is to know that this being who has created you and loves you would actually sacrifice himself for you. I think ultimately I do things wrong – I am human. Everybody does. But I know my God, my father, my daddy in heaven just loves me whatever I do”.

Michael said of his selection: “The Paralympics will be incredible and I intend to enjoy every second of it. There will never be another moment like this and I will cherish it. Anna has been a fantastic support for me and it will be very special for us to be there together. I’m not sure how much time we’ll get together but we both feel so honoured to be a part of it.

“The news about making the squad was amazing. I feel so proud to have achieved that level of performance and get selected. It’s all about having that desire to get better, to spend hours in the gym and on court looking for those improvements that could make the difference. That’s all paid off and it is time to put everything into practice”.

Having grown up in a Christian family, faith in Jesus has always been part of Michael’s life. He feels that it is equally relevant to his sport. “My faith is an important part of the game. I try to pray before every game and give that game to God, to quietly affirm to him that what I am doing is for him and for his glory. I think if you ask the Holy Spirit to be with you, you have a strength that you can’t have without him”.

Following selection one of the next stages on the road to London 2012 for the athletes is the delivery of their kit. UPS will be supporting ParalympicsGB by coordinating the delivery of London 2012 team kits to Paralympic athletes across the UK. In this extensive logistical operation UPS will be warehousing, packing and delivering over 27,000 items to 300 Paralympic athletes at training locations up and down the country. Then ahead of the team's arrival to the Paralympic Village, UPS will collect all the kit and deliver it to each athlete's room ensuring a comfortable and easy move into the village for the home team. UPS are the Official Logistics and Express Delivery Supporter of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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