Golden girl Kiera Byland swapped the podium for the stage as she was once again honoured for sporting achievements ­— this time in her hometown.

The 21-year-old who rode off with three gold medals at the World Games in Abu Dhabi ­— adding to the three she had previously won in previous Special Olympics ­— joined University of Bolton graduands on the first day of the degree ceremonies to be presented with an Award of Distinction for her outstanding sporting performance in March.

Kiera, who lives in Bromley Cross and is a student at Bolton College, said: "I'm just really excited about this and I feel really honoured that I was given this amazing award and I appreciate the recognition that Bolton College and university have given me.

"Everything is going really well, training is going really well, I'm really happy and keeping moving forward to new challenges and hopefully overcome them.

"I'm going to Australia in October to defend my world title."

As well as training and studying, Kiera spends her time in schools encouraging the very young to develop a love of cycling. She has fundraised toward the cost of balance bikes, and is now raising money to buy a trailer so they can be transported to schools for children, including those with special educational needs, to use.

"I just want to young people to realise that if you have a dream you can achieve it if you keep trying," said Kiera

Mum Jacqui said: "I was extremely proud of Kiera.

"Kiera does work extremely hard and we are super proud of her."

She added: "The college and the university have been so supportive, financially but also helping her to be the best she can be."

Jacqui said: "She coaches early years children how to ride balance bikes and also children with special educational needs who never have been on a bike before. Balance bikes are purely to start balance and when you have got core stability you ride a bike, it wasn't something Kiera had so she said mum 'I would like to teach everybody that so that they get a chance and enjoy cycling'.

"The plan is to go to as many schools not only raise awareness of the Special Olympics but also the love of cycling."