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Japanese Paralympic Track Team Pre-Tokyo2020 Training Camp

Last week, a little bit of magic occurred at the Sports Super Centre. It was the perfect mixture of being at the right place at the right time and a small gesture from a big hearted staff member who saw the opportunity for a life changing encounter…

Tori, a new member of the gym had brought her three daughters to Froggies Playground while she had a little free time to go to the gym. While signing in at Reception, Tori, four and a half year old Jessica and her siblings met Brendan Flynn and Barb Collins. While waiting for Froggies to open for the afternoon session, Barb immediately saw the potential in introducing Jessica to the elite Japanese Paralympic Track team we had training onsite.

For the young aspiring athlete, this was magic. Not only did Jessica get to meet professional athletes, she met young athletes with the same disability as herself. The life changing moment for Jessica and her mother, opened Jessica’s mind up to the world of opportunity, even that of being a high level athlete, and how hard work, perseverance and determination can get you anywhere.

Jessica loved the encounter so much, she made mum buy her new, fast runners to meet with the Japanese Squad for their Friday afternoon training session. When asked how she felt Jessica said “it made me sore, tired and thirsty and very very happy to run with people who have beauty spots”. The inspirational four and a half year old says everyone has a beauty spot and her little arm, is her beauty spot. Japanese sprinter Sae Tsuji has the same unilateral upper limb impairment and when asked how Jessica felt about Sae she said “she is perfect”.

We are so proud to have played a part in making such a positive impact on Jessica. A big thanks goes to the Japanese Paralympic team, coach Chris Nunn, Tori for being open to new experiences and of course Jessica for being such a little champ.

About Kelissa Brockett