Young athlete to compete at Halberg games

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Liam Wilson loves competing in athletics.

The Balmacewen Intermediate pupil is one of 13 athletes who will represent Otago at the Halberg Junior Disability Games in Auckland this weekend.

Liam (13) has a mild form of cerebral palsy that affects the muscles in his right arm and leg.

He said people with cerebral palsy could be “athletes for life”, as they constantly had to work hard to build and retain full strength in their affected muscles.

This year’s games will be the second time Liam has competed. He took part in six events last year and has upped that to eight this weekend – discus, shot put, sprinting, long jump, swimming, cricket, archery and table tennis.

Long jump and sprinting will be his main events and are the ones he enjoys the most.

It will be a busy three days for the young athlete but he is looking forward to the challenge.

“Yeah, I’m going to be tired,” he said.

“It’s going to be fun.”

Liam said he often felt quite nervous before competing but loved taking part and hearing people cheer him on.

“The feeling you get when you get a placing, that’s even better.”

He has been training with Parafed Otago for the event and feels better prepared than last year.

“I have definitely improved a lot since last year. [I have] been training a lot more.

“I reckon I will do pretty well this year.”

He hopes to compete in the Paralympics when he is older.

Parafed Otago sports development officer Kelsey Evans said the games were a great chance for Otago athletes to test themselves against people from around the country who had the same or similar disabilities.

The Otago team ranges in age from 8 to 21.