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Saskia was awarded a 2019 Youth Grant to attend the Australian All Schools National Athletics Competition Perth, WA from 5-8th December 2019.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Perth achieving two silver medals for the Girls U18 Para Long Jump and Shot Put, and fourth in the 200m sprint. The NSW team was the overall champion state supported by the depth of performances by para athletes with a range of disabilities from deafness to cerebral palsy and wheelchair athletes. I hope my athletic performances continue to inspire other young hearing-impaired children to participate in a range of sports.

This competition not only provides a well-earned opportunity for me to improve my personal bests in my athletic events but allows me to foster friendships with other athletic individuals from both the able-bodied and disabled community. Each year this trip has contributed significantly to continuing many interstate friendships and improving my conversational skills.

This year was particularly special as I met another girl who has two cochlear implants from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and competes in similar events to me – usually I am the only athlete from across Australia with a hearing loss. As I am the only student at my school with a cochlear implant and hearing aid, I look forward to forming more friendships with other hearing-impaired athletes in the future.

Furthermore, my goal in the future is to represent Australia at the 2020 World Deaf Athletics Championships in Poland and in the 2021 Deaflympics for athletics whilst I begin studying health science at university in February. Through my experiences I hope I can demonstrate to other hearing-impaired individuals that there are so many amazing opportunities to try new activities, excel in sports and academics.

I am very grateful to Deaf Children Australia to be the recipient of a 2019 grant, thank you.