The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh has lauded Africa’s first autistic cyclist, Young Phil Bertino for his contribution towards the development of disability sports.
Young Phil is becoming a sports icon with his annual Autism Awareness Creation Campaign through cycling initiative.
The MP said Young Phil has become a role model for autistic and other disabled children in Ghana and the world at large.
He made the remarks when Young Phil, accompanied by her mother, Mrs Angel Bertino recently called on him to discuss ways of making the event bigger to impact more on sports and health across the country.
The MP said “It is exceptional to see an autistic young boy take cycling to the highest level and use his story to not only impact on sports but contribute to change in society as far as autism is concerned.”
The MP also requested that the next Autistic Awareness Campaign should be held in his constituency to raise awareness and support for autism in Ghana.
On her part, Mrs Bertinodisclosed that Young Phil would mark his 16th birthday in December with donations to the Orthopedic Training Center (OTC) in Nsawam where they would also share food and drinks with the children.
“We want to use cycling and Phil’s recovery story to impact on the children in the center. It would be a day of fun and excitement as we hope to dine with the children and give them hope for the future,” she stated.
She thanked the MP for the recognition, and added that they would do their best to sustain the campaign and make it countrywide.
She said Phil was gradually taking cycling to the highest level and was receiving invitations for races in Europe and other parts of the world.
“We’re working towards Phil’s participation in the Tour du France next year as well as the Africa Games to be staged in Ghana,” she stated.
To that end, she appealed to corporate entities and individuals to support the young athlete that wants to change the autism narrative through cycling.
“The campaign has been very positive over the years and impacted greatly on society by giving hope to children living with autism,” she stated.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE