An inspirational Cambuslang youngster who doctors feared would not live more than 36 hours has enjoyed glittering success at a nationwide gymnastics championships.

Harley Davis, nine, scooped five gold medals and two silvers at the British Gymnastics Disability Championships last weekend - the first ever national contest the Newton FarmPrimary pupil has participated in.

And among his honours was being crowned the U-12's British champion.

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Before he was born, Harley's parents Marc Ollerenshaw and Steffanie Davis were told by doctors he had Edward’s Disease, which usually results in death after just three days.

However, after birth it was discovered he actually had tracheoesophageal fistula, which is when the wind pipe is attached to the food pipe so everything he swallowed went into the lungs.

That meant the youngster was unable to eat any food for the first 15 months of his life, while it was discovered that he also had both Oesophageal Atresia and Partial Sacral Agenesis, a condition that leaves the bottom of the spine missing.

Harley
Harley was delighted at his success

Yet Harley soon became hooked on gymnastics, and has gone from strength-to-strength, to the delight of his parents and his coaches at the City of Glasgow Gymnastics Club.

Proud dad Marc told Lanarkshire Live : "We are proud as punch.

"He was happy to go down and take part, but as this was the first national contest he's done and there were gymnasts from all four corners of the UK there, we didn't know how he would do.

"Medically, he shouldn't be able to do this. He's not supposed to do it as he's not got the muscle groups usually required for it, but he has just kept going, and he's slowly progressed into the competing stages.

"He just enjoys it so much."

Harley first became involved in gymnastics aged four, when his parents were looking to find sports clubs for young disabled kids, something that can be hard to find.

After starting with the City of Glasgow gym, based at Bellahouston Drive, he quickly showed a natural talent and his coaches, led by Angela Turner, encouraged him along the way, with Harley loving the sport.

Marc added: "He always puts 110 per cent into everything and keeps going.

"A friend of Steffanie has a wee boy who is disabled as well, and after seeing what Harley has been doing he said he wanted to be in gymnastics as well to be like Harley.

"Your heart really swells with pride hearing something like that, because it shows what you can achieve with hard work and dedication.

"The continuous support they've given at City of Glasgow has been brilliant too. They train as a team and there's that solidarity with the club there."

City of Glasgow coach Emma Johnstone tipped Harley to have a lengthy career in the sport.

She told us : "He has a positive attitude and lots of talent, it is good to see him inspiring lots of other gymnasts in the club and beyond.

"Harley possibly spends more time on his hands than his feet. This makes him well suited to various apparatus in artistic gymnastics.

"He makes some of his own gymnastics goals and is very forward-thinking in working towards them.

"At times his health needs have delayed his progress - but he always makes sure he comes back stronger. He also supports his team mates and cheers on others at competitions.

"Harley is amazing and I expect him to have a long and interesting gymnastics career."

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