Sup­port sys­tem al­lows Liam to reach Fiji

Fiji Sun - - Sport - JUS­TINE MAN­NAN

Aus­tralia’s Liam Gart­lan made his mum, Tracey, proud af­ter win­ning gold in the Un­der-18 boy’s dis­cus in the Me­lane­sian Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onship at the ANZ Sta­dium, Suva yes­ter­day. The gold medal win was a re­sult of hard work and an im­mense sup­port sys­tem that al­lowed the 15-year-old to travel to Fiji. The sup­port was not only within Aus­tralia but came as far as Europe and Amer­ica. Tracey said she watched her son per­form from the com­fort of their home in Aus­tralia. “I’m re­ally proud of him (Liam) hav­ing al­ready achieved this at such a young age- by wear­ing the green and gold and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Me­lane­sian Games,” she said. “He loves the new ex­pe­ri­ence and be­ing part Maori him­self he wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence the Fi­jian way of life. He set-up a “go fund me” page not quite know­ing if he could achieve his goal of col­lect­ing $AUD2200 ($FJD 3443) as I could not af­ford to pay for him to go. “But he had a large sup­port net­work from fam­ily and friends and he started re­ceiv­ing do­na­tions from as far away as Ire­land and USA and a lot of sup­port from the ath­let­ics community in Western Aus­tralia (WA). “He man­aged to achieve his goal within two to three weeks and with the help of one of my friends, who works at a flight cen­tre, we had him booked and he was on his way. Liam went to Mel­bourne first and trained with his friend James whose fam­ily put him up for eight days. “He then flew by him­self to Bris­bane and met up with a few other team mem­bers from WA.

“This is the first time I haven’t gone with him to an event as be­ing so far away but we are look­ing for­ward to the nationals next year hop­ing he can qual­ify for the Youth Cham­pi­onship. I’m just part of his sup­port sys­tem and just en­joy be­ing there as his mum.”

Liam also sac­ri­ficed his af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties to work in McDon­ald’s to help save money for his trip to Fiji. His aim is to qual­ify for the World Youth Cham­pi­onship in Nairobi, Kenya. Liam said he is now closer to achiev­ing his dream.

“I’m about five me­tres off so I have time to im­prove that and I am pretty con­fi­dent that I will get there.” Liam threw a dis­tance of of 50.74m to clinch the gold medal, Jack Payne of Aus­tralia threw 45.87m to take sil­ver while Kau­tane Er­a­sito of Fiji threw 42.16m to set­tle with the bronze medal.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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