Special Olympics Great Britain athlete Zach Brookes has faced challenges in life.
As a boy, he was diagnosed with autism, which left him feeling isolated. Later Zach discovered he was transgender. He worried how people would react. Throughout these challenges, Zach was able to rely on his love of sport, and in particular, tennis, to get him through.
Now aged 22, Zach from the West Midlands of England has competed and won at the Special Olympics Great Britain National Games in Sheffield.
Zach said: “To tell my coaches was a challenge. I had a moment where I nearly quit the sport because I was worried how they would react. My mum said that tennis is my talent and without it I wouldn't be who I am. But I need not have worried. The response to the change was amazing and I am really grateful for the support. Now I feel better than ever about who I am.”
Mum Jo adds: “Zach has been short listed for a national diversity award for his transgender awareness on and off court. This makes us all so proud.”