In the world of para-athletics, Liverpool based student Rio Boothe has emerged as a beacon of inspiration.

He has overcome adversity to become a para-world champion pentathlete and advocate for inclusivity in sport. At just 20-years-old, Rio’s journey from being bullied as a secondary school student to a record-breaking para-athlete is nothing short of remarkable.

Born with cerebral palsy, which caused paralysis on one side of his body due to right-sided hemiplegia, Rio faced challenges from a young age. This could have limited him, but he refused to let it define him.

Bullying, endured at secondary school, led him to abstain from sports, but Rio found his passion for athletics later when he went to college. It was there that he embarked on his sports journey, embracing it with determination and resilience.

Using his social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram, Rio began sharing his story, shedding light on his experiences and struggles as a para-athlete. His videos caught the attention of Cerebral Palsy Sport and UP (The Cerebral Palsy Movement), leading to his official role as an ambassador and representative for the North West. Through his content creation, Rio aims to inspire others and advocate for greater inclusivity in sports.


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The world champion has been keen to use his platforms to encourage participation but also to bridge the gap in the lack of coverage on disability sport. He said: “Laser Sport Liverpool project has been about growing laser sport and making it accessible for anyone with disabilities.

“The media don’t have enough coverage about para sport, and I want to give it that exposure, using my platforms.”

Laser Sport Liverpool is the latest of the athlete’s endeavours. He has collaborated with Pentathlon GB on a groundbreaking research project focused on Para Laser Run. This initiative aims to gather insights to influence national policies surrounding para-sports.

In August, Rio made history by competing in the first-ever, World Laser Run Pentathlon Championships in Bath. Not only did he participate, but he emerged victorious, taking the title, and setting a world record in the LR2 class. His achievement serves as a testament to his unwavering determination and perseverance.

This was a challenge that came out of nowhere for the athlete. Lecturer, Nicola Robinson, at Liverpool John Moores University, where Rio is on an athletic scholarship program, spotted his potential and didn’t want it to go to waste.

Describing the process, he said: “I didn’t really know a lot about the Laser Pentathlon. I was given a brief explanation about the project, the GB team and how everything works. I had two training sessions and a trial, three more training sessions and then I was at the World Championships.”

Reflecting on his journey, Rio emphasises the significance of sport for him. “It’s an escape for me.

“Everyone’s so accepting, and it’s really just nice to be in that environment surrounded by a bunch of para-athletes who have the same goals, regardless of what disability is.”

As Rio prepares to host taster sessions at Liverpool John Moores University’s sports building, locals have an opportunity to witness first-hand the passion and dedication that has led him to success. Through his story and achievements, this remerkable young man continues to inspire not only those in Merseyside but individuals worldwide, proving that with determination and resilience, anything is possible.