Vanuatu Paralympic athlete Elie Enock is currently training and competing in Brisbane, Australia to book herself a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Enock is among other Pacific athletes from Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tonga and Samoa who are in Australia and are assisted by Australian Volunteers to book a spot in the Paralympic games.
It’s not just about qualifying for the Paralympics but creating “inclusive communities”, say those supporting their ambitions.
Pacific para-athletes hope to head in record numbers to the Tokyo Paralympics this year — including those from Kiribati for the first time — with the help of Australian coaches and mentors.
Enock from Vanuatu lost her leg in a car accident on her 20th birthday.
“After the accident, I was scared to go out because in Vanuatu people always discriminate against you, say different, bad words about you,” she told SBS News.
Ten years on, after taking up the shot put and javelin, she has travelled the world and is just happy to compete.
“From the darkest time, now I can do anything I want, I accept my disability and I can do anything,” she said.
The largest contingent of Pacific para-athletes to compete at any games was eight at London 2012 and it is where they achieved the greatest success.
Fijian high jumper Iliesa Delana won gold, a first for his country and the region, building on the success of Papua New Guinea’s Francis Kompaon in 2008, who won silver in the 100m in Beijing.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST