Aiming for the top
JACKSON Hamilton has never let legal blindness stop him from achieving his goals, including competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The Shenton College student, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that has left him with 10 per cent vision, uses sho
LOOKING at 13-year-old Jackson Hamilton, it is hard to tell that he is legally blind.
The up and coming athletics champion suffers from a rare genetic condition, X-linked juvenile retinoschisis, which has left him with just 10 per cent vision.
The Daglish resident said he did not let it get to him; focusing on his shot put, discus and javelin training to help him deal with his eye troubles.
“I don’t let it bother me too much with sport, I just close it,” he said.
“I can usually finish a training session, just when I get home it will be a bit irritating.”
Last year, Jackson suffered a retina detachment, leaving him out of action for two months.
Now he is back training four times a week, and thanks to Variety WA, he has $3000 to put towards reaching his goal of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Jackson’s mum Amy said the family was thankful for the help of the children’s charity.
“As he is a Para athlete, he always has to have one of us accompany him to competitions,” she said.
“So paying for two airfares, accommodation, it gets expensive.”
The Shenton College student has had a successful couple of years in athletics, winning at state and national level in his F12/T12 class.
He broke two Australian under age records in the under 16 Para discus, with a throw of 42.48m and the under-16 Para javelin, with a throw of 33.74m.
On top of the two gold medals, he brought home a silver medal in the shot put.
Mrs Hamilton said she admired his determination and resilience.
“He really is quite good about it,” she said.
“He lost it a little bit last year when he couldn’t train for a while, but now he’s back into it it’s great.
“Athletics has really given him a purpose.”
The Year 9 student said Paralympian Brad Scott inspired him.
“Brad was my first coach,” he said.
“He competed in Beijing and London (in 2008 and 2012) and won silver and bronze in the 800m and 1500m.”
Jackson said he hoped to be selected for the Australian Para Athletics Junior Development squad announced next month, which would travel to the Australian Institute of Sport for training camps.
He will also take part in the National All Schools Athletics Championships in December.
Jackson was one of 34 young people awarded scholarships from Variety WA at a special ceremony at the Heath Ledger Theatre on Friday.
Mosman Park resident and natural martial artist Anzaac Clark was also a scholarship recipient.