A FORMER Paralympian who has won gold, silver and bronze medals for Great Britain was in Newport this week to inspire young sporting stars of the future.

John Harris, from Pontypool, who has competed in five Paralympic Games, showed his medals to local children at the University of Wales, Newport, on Tuesday.

The children were there to take part in a primary school Olympic Games organised by the university as part of National School Sport Week.

Children have tried sports such as gymnastics, trampolining and judo.

Mr Harris, who won gold in the discus in 1984, and silver and gold in the discus and pentathlon events in 1988, also showed the children a replica Olympic Torch after taking part in the Olympic Torch relay through Blaenavon on Friday.

He said: “When I competed in the Olympic Games and represented my country at the highest level, I thought it didn’t get any better than that, but carrying the torch was the icing on the cake.”

The 66-year-old, who goes to the gym three times a week, told the youngsters that he was paralysed at 18 when he fell 40 feet from the big wheel at Butlins.

The Pontypool community councillor said: “As a teenager I had always been into sport – I used to love gymnastics, rugby and boxing – so my accident was devastating for me.”

But he started training again and competed in his first Paralympic Games in 1980.

He now hopes his success will inspire children to take up sport and follow their dreams regardless of their ability.