OVER­COM­ING HER HUR­DLES

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH

LAURA Mlade­n­ovic thought she may never play sport again.

With her el­bows fused into a dis­lo­cated po­si­tion due to dwarfism, the Townsville teenager was ad­vised by doc­tors that they may need to op­er­ate and she would have to give up her ath­let­ics pas­sions.

But af­ter they de­cided the pro­ce­dure wasn’t nec­es­sary, the 17- year- old was rapt to be ac­tive again, and will com­pete in seven dif­fer­ent events in Au­gust’s World Dwarf Games in Canada.

For two years her sport­ing pur­suits were put on hold be­fore she re­turned to ac­tion last year.

“It was a bit scary be­cause they told me I pos­si­bly couldn’t get mo­bil­ity back in my arm if it was to straighten,” the Townsville State High School stu­dent said.

“We were on edge a bit for a cou­ple of years. It was chal­leng­ing not be­ing able to play sports. They didn’t see the point in straight­en­ing it for me not to have any mo­bil­ity, so they de­cided to leave it. “I was pretty happy and ex­cited about it.” Mlade­n­ovic is the only fe­male on Aus­tralia’s bas­ket­ball team, and reg­u­larly trains one- on- one with Townsville Flames player Leti­tia Hustler.

She will also take part in soc­cer, shot put, javelin, 200m, 100m and 100m re­lay, with the track be­ing her first love.

“It's still ath­let­ics. It’s what I’ve been do­ing the long­est,” she said.

“It ( World Dwarf Games) is good be­cause we’re on an even play­ing field.

“When I did com­pe­ti­tions a cou­ple of years ago, even though the oth­ers had dis­abil­i­ties they were other dis­abil­i­ties, but here we’re all the same.“

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