OVERCOMING HER HURDLES
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.“