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

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By MON­TANA AR­DON

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d468218

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