AS the Pacific Mini-Games grows closer, many local athletes across the country are currently in full preparations for the Games.
In Port Vila, the athletes have been training seriously hard. It was an opportunity that Morris Kerry, a male Para athlete for the javelin and shot put events, to share his experience of the training.
Kerry, a new Para athlete, said this is his first time ever to play in a big event.
“I have never taken part in any big events. But I feel that the training is going really well,” he said.
“With my coach and my other colleague athletes here with me, I trust myself that the trainings have gone well.
“Although we don’t have access to good facilities, whatever advice the coaches gave us, I trust that the training is helping me.
“Now I am going through training in two different sports, javelin and shot put. But I will be playing only one sport at the Mini-Games. I have to go through a trial again by the end of this month. And if I do well in one of the two sports then that will be the sport I will be doing.”
Kerry said the two sports are not something that he has done very often; he only participated in javelin during his high school days.
“I never tried shot put before. I tried javelin only during training hours, but I have never taken part in a competition before,” he said.
However Kerry said with the two months’ training so far, he felt confident taking part in either of the two sports in December.
He has been selected by the Vanuatu Para Olympic Committee to take part in one of the two sports disciplines during the Mini Games.
“It is a good thing because I will be representing the people with disability during the Games. I am sure other Para athletes will be watching me, thus it will lift up their morale that they too can do it – this is also an awareness of confidence to them.
“Thanks to the Para Olympics Committee, VASANOC, Wan Smol Bag Theatre and the Ministry of Justice’s Disability Desk that this training can happen for us,” Kerry said.
Outside of sport, Mr Kerry has been working with the Vanuatu Disability Desk at the Ministry of Justice as a Disability Support Officer.
“I have been working at the Disability Desk for two years now. We are doing community work, providing devices to our clients. And we go out providing awareness around our communities to help our people with disability. We encourage parents of people with disability to help them to promote themselves,” he said.
Mr Kerry said sometimes people ignore people with disabilities.
“But we have to change that view of them. We have to look on their abilities, not their disabilities.
“Today people will regard disabled people as though they won’t do anything. If you can discover what I can do, then whatever the able people can do, we can do it,” he said.
Mr Kerry was not born with his disability.
“There was a boil that came out of my right ankle. That happened when I was three years old. Then I went through an operation at the Vila Central Hospital. The operation later removed the bone from my right ankle and that created my disability.
“I had very difficult times walking during my childhood days. My parents would do all the things for me. They carried me to school and did all the things with walking because I couldn’t walk.
“There was no support for the ankle to replace the bone that was removed. Therefore I was left with a defective limb.
“But I am confident I will participate to my best at the Pacific Mini Games in December,” he said.