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Young Para-athletes Strive to Stay in the Game

December 4, 2020
Rosey McGrath
Director

A charity established by Australian Paralympic Gold Medallist, Katie Kelly OAM, could be the game changer for young para-athletes who’ve faced even more obstacles this year due to the impact of COVID19.

Sport Access Foundation provides financial assistance - through annual grants - for key sports projects and events for Australian kids, aged 7 -17 years of age, who have a disability.

Katie Kelly said:

“This year we had the highest number of applicants ever with 116 young people contacting us for a grant. These young athletes haven’t let the pandemic become a stumbling block and they’ve been able to continue training and striving for their goals. We’re delighted to be providing $8,000 worth of grants to help the athletes with COVID-19 challenges and continuing to encourage the re-integration of sport after the pandemic.“

Congratulations to our recipients of 2020:

BlueScope Building Up Grants (support during these COVID-19 times): 10x grants - $250

Cameron McLeod

Age: 17 State: SA

Disability: Intellectual Disability Sport: Athletics

Cameron is seventeen years old and currently holds State records for 100m (under 16) and 200m (under 20, 18 and 16). He has Intellectual Disability and has a love for athletics. He hopes to break his personal records within the new season. This grant will help Cameron with training at home costs due to COVID-19 and would love to ease financial pressures from his parents.

Callum Simpson

Age: 13 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Swimming

Callum is thirteen years old and has a rare Physical Disability know as Chromosome 2q Deletion which he is one of 250 children globally with this diagnosis. He loves swimming and trains at the Cotton Tree club. Callum wishes to use the grant to purchase technology equipment to adjust to the online shift of COVID-19. This will allow him to virtual meet with his coach and peers to maintain contact and access for development and social mentality. Callum dreams to be a part of the National team for swimming.


Joshua Brass

Age: 11 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Athletics

Josh is eleven years old and has a Physical Disability known as Sacral Agenesis/Caudal Regression Syndrome. He enjoys athletics and would love to do 10kms in his track chair at a reasonable time. Josh would use this grant to search for a personal trainer that will support him through regaining his strength he has lost since COVID-19. Generous levels of activity have helped Josh to be healthy and avoid any series of back operations and he would love to get back his strength from six months ago to continue to prevent these procedures.

Joshua Searle

Age: 17 State: NSW

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Rowing

Joshua seventeen years old and has severe congenital Ichthyosis which is known as a Physical Disability. He is passionate about rowing to improve his fitness and mental health. Josh is unable to access team sports due to Ichthyosis and would love to use the grant to get a rowing machine to allow him to reach his goals for personal fitness and improved mental health by making exercise accessible. As he has found that local sports clubs lack disability access.  


Jake Perrett

Age: 13 State: VIC

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Athletics

Jake is thirteen years old and has achieved a silver medal and two bronze medals in the 2020 Victorian Athletics Championships. He has a Physical Disability known as congenital limb abnormality. He loves athletics and before COVID-19 he wanted to participate in the Australian Athletics Championships in 2020 and 2021. Due to the pandemic and bushfire early this year, he has been very isolated and training at home has proven difficult. Jake currently trains at Wellington Athletics Club and will use this grant for travel cost to visit his coach that lives three hours away.  


Layla Potts

Age: 14 State: QLD

Disability: Hearing Impairment Sport: Swimming

Layla is fourteen years old and has a Hearing Impairment known as bilateral hearing loss. She has a love swimming and was in the 2020 Gold Coast Long Course Championship Final. Layla says her “coach is amazing and has spent lots of time developing different strategies to support my special needs.” She swims at Helensvale Swimming Club and this grant will help purchase equipment such as a digital pace clock and a had held start signal device. Layla hopes to compete in the 2022 Australian Deaf Games in Newcastle and race in the Queensland State Log Course Championships.  


Sophie Weaver

Age: 11 State: NSW

Disability: Vision Impairment Sport: Goalball

Sophie is eleven years old and has Vision Impairment known as Oculocutaneous Albinism. She loves playing sport and socialising with peers through activities. Sophie likes to play Goalball and would appreciate this grant to help pay for registration fees and protective gear/uniforms to play under NSW Goalball. Due to COVID-19, her mother lost her job and her father’s hours decreased. Sophie hopes to play for the Australian team one day.  


Sebastian Stewart  

Age: 7 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Tennis

Sebastian is seven years old and has a physical disability. He has a passion for tennis and would love to join the Elite Tennis International sport club; however, the club is too expensive. Sebastian would like to use the grant to help out his mum and put it towards coaching fees and required equipment as he wants to enjoy being able to participate in the warmer months without being hospitalised.  


Trojan Panayi

Age: 11 State: VIC

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Motorsport  

Trojan is eleven years old and has a Physical Disability as he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. He loves his motorbike and participates in motorsports with his sport club Dry Lake Racers Australia (DLRA). This grant will help purchase required equipment and travel costs as he hopes to compete in the Land Speed Races at Lake Gairdner in 2021.

PICA Group Kick Start Grants: 4x grants of $500 each

Daniel Pretorius

Age: 13 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Athletics  

Daniel is thirteen years old and has represented Queensland in athletics at Nationals in Perth in 2019. He has a Physical Disability from the muscle being removed due to a rare cancerous tumour at seven years old. Daniel trains for athletics at Queensland Schools Sports but he also has a passion for touch football and rugby. He will use this grant for travel as flights from Bundaberg to major states to compete to represent in sport is highly expensive. Daniel hopes to make the Queensland Athletics Team again, continue playing touch football and advance to Rugby 7s.


Elijsha Hill  

Age: 17 State: QLD

Disability: Intellectual Disability & Autism Sport: Self Defence/ Boxing

Elijsha is seventeen years old with Intellectual Disability and Autism disorder. He also suffers from anxiety, frustration, depression and subject to bullying through schooling. Elijsha enjoys self-defence and boxing at The Boss boxing school. He wants to use the grant for equipment to help build self-confidence, routine, discipline, community connect while dealing with bullying and managing mental health. Elijsha’s goal is to maintain regular training and discipline to build on life skills to help manage a chronic illness.  


Lucinda Foley

Age: 15 State: WA

Disability: Cerebral Palsy Sport: Swimming

Lucinda is fifteen years old and had Cerebral Palsy and currently being treated for Scoliosis. Her most recent swimming achievements were medalling at the 2020 Western Australia State Open and Aged Long Course Swimming Championships. She trains at Westcoast Swimming Club and this grant will assist in more regular training as she states that her “doctors have advised that swimming is a huge benefit to overcoming restriction that my cerebral palsy creates.” Lucinda hopes to achieve 600 MC points in my events. This will allow her to be considered for the National Para-swimming Development selection.


Mattias McCarthy

Age: 15 State: SA

Disability: Vision Impairment Sport: Swimming

Mattias is fifteen years old and has Vision Impairment with approximately ten percent of his vision in one ear and blind in the other since birth with a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia. He loves swimming competitively and trains at the Mario Swimming club. Mattias was selected and qualified to compete in the swimming national age in April 2020, however it was cancelled due to COVID-19. This grant will assist with the financial pressure of his mother as a single parent since she lost her job due to the pandemic. Mattias hopes he will be selected at the national age of 2021 and place a medal.

SAF Pathway to Paralympics Grants: 2x grants of $1000 each

Keira Stephens

Age: 17 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Swimming

Keira is seventeen years old and was selected onto the 2019 Para World Championships team to compete at the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships, where she competed in three individual events and one relay. Keira has a physical Disability as she was born with no finger on her left hand. This grant will assist in travel expenses, since she lives in a regional town, it takes a few hours to travel to state championships and competitive swimming meets. Keira hopes to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games.  


Poppy Richards

Age: 15 State: QLD

Disability: Cerebral Palsy Sport: Swimming

Poppy is fifteen years old and attended the World Para Swimming Series in Melbourne 2020. She has Cerebral Palsy and is internationally classified as an S8 swimmer. Poppy trains at Cotton Tree Cyclones and hopes to trial for the 2021 Paralympic Games. The grant will help with travel expenses and through this year of training will help her try to reach the next Paralympics or the Commonwealth games. To reach the goals she needs to compete in the big swimming competitions once they commence again.

SAF No Barriers Grants: 4x grants of $250 each

Elijah Agius

Age: 8 State: VIC

Disability: Vision Impairment Sport: Swimming and Swish

Elijah is eight years old and has Vision Impairment known as Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, causing full blindness, he is also been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Elijah is a part of Blind Tennis Victoria and Saltwater swim school, where he is passionate about swish table tennis and swimming. This grant will help with equipment and coaching expenses, providing private coaching lessons to assist with his sporting abilities. Elijah wishes to continue to enhance his ability and compete competitively.  


Jake Ryan Fanning

Age: 8 State: ACT

Disability: Intellectual Disability & Autism Sport: Soccer

Jake is eight years old and has Intellectual Disability, Autism, high functioning ADHA, sensory process disorder and 28 percent vision in one eye. He loves to play sports in general but has a main passion for soccer. He wants to join the Coerver coaching academy to further develop his skills and Jake hopes to play soccer for Canberra one day. This grant will help with coaching fees to obtain one on one coaching for Jake at Coerver coaching academy and will help his single parent with expenses.  


Max Bailey-Jensen

Age: 12 State: QLD

Disability: Physical Disability Sport: Race Running

Max is twelve years old and is the first person in Australia to receive National classification in the new sport of Race Running. He has a Physical Disability known as dystonic/ hyperkinetic quadriplegic cerebral palsy GMFCS IV and has a passion for race running. This grant will help with competition and equipment fees as Max hopes to attend the North Qld Athletics Championship, where Race Running is going to debut for the first time in Australia at an athletics event.  


Ryan McTernan

Age: 7  State: QLD

Disability: Intellectual Disability & Autism Sport: Swimming

Ryan is seven years old and has Intellectual Disability and Autism with a rare genetic disorder causing him to have epilepsy. He has never participated in sport; however, he hopes to begin swimming to one day be able to swim like his sister Maddie McTernan who swims for Australia on the Para Swim Team. She also has an intellectual disability and autism. This grant will help with coaching fees to allow him to have one on one lessons because of his seizures. He loves swimming so he can “make lifelong friends and meet people like me.”

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