Sports Awards: Joe McCamley makes his mark on the badminton court
JOE McCamley has overcome his lack of confidence to enjoy huge success on the badminton court.
The 23-year-old, who has autism, has been a regular member of the North Staffs Special Olympics team since becoming a residential student at Trentham's Strathmore College five years ago.
And with the help of his coaches, including Gemma Brayford, he won a host of medals in 2012.
McCamley, right, represented the West Midlands in a tournament in Wales and walked away with a bronze medal in the singles and a silver in the doubles.
And he also made three visits to Birmingham and came away with medals every time representing North Staffs.
He scooped silvers in the trio of doubles events and managed to pick up a gold and bronze in the singles competitions.
McCamley has now been nominated in the disability category of The Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards by Brayford.
"Joe is a very committed player, but has struggled with anxiety and self-esteem," she said.
"He will always turn up to training and give 100 per cent to try to improve, but no matter how hard he tries and how much he achieves, he convinces himself that he is not good enough.
"However he will never give up and will ask how he can improve or what he needs to work on.
"Joe's main anxieties are around taking part in competitions.
"He looks forward to them, but when it comes to the day, he often says he can't make the competition and he feels he is not good enough.
"But with a lot of encouragement and persuasion Joe will attend the competitions showing his determination to succeed and to overcome his anxieties."
And Brayford says winning medals is not the only success when it comes to seeing McCamley performing on the badminton court.
"The fact Joe manages to overcome his anxieties for each competition is a huge a achievement in itself," she added.
"It may seem like a small thing for anyone else, but for someone with autism, his self-belief is a big impacting factor on his everyday life.
"Joe is not a confident person at all, but he continues to work on this and his medal tally in 2012 demonstrates this.
"Joe has now started to attend some extra badminton sessions with support to improve his game."
Those tips and extra training are set to be come useful as McCamley and his badminton team-mates face a busy year.
And all eyes are on the national games in Bath, in August, where he will be representing the West Midlands and hoping to add to his medal haul.