Mahinawa make it three in a row
Mahinawa Specialist School have won the Athletes with Disabilities regional soccer championship for the third successive year.
The team played six games in the championship, beating Paraparaumu College in the final last month.
Otaihanga student Bronson Williams-Elliot said the final was the biggest test, because Paraparaumu College were a stronger team.
‘‘We won every game, [but] the last game was a challenge because they had stronger people on their side. They just had a really good goalie,’’ he said.
The winning team was Kieran Bray, Bronson Williams- Elliot, Isaac Malaulau, Stephanie Miller, Damien Preuss and Ben Ogilvie.
They did not have scheduled practices, but often kicked a ball around to each other during school breaks, Bronson said.
The team have studied together since 2009 in a small class named The Learning Unit, which teaches students with different physical and mental abilities.
Bronson, 17, was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and struggled to learn before attending Mahinawa Specialist School and joining the soccer team in 2011.
‘‘It used to be hard to learn, just focusing on work. I couldn’t last long. I used to get real angry until I came to this school and learnt to control my anger.’’
Bronson normally plays striker, but said players often switched positions.
He said the players were respectful of each other’s disabilities and would not let them get in the way of their playing.
‘‘We’re all like brothers here. Everyone in our team is good.’’
Bronson said he would continue to play with the team until he had finished at the school and would compete in next year’s championships.
Sports champions: Mahinawa Specialist School’s winning soccer team. Front, from left, Kieran Bray, Bronson Williams-Elliot. Middle, from left, Isaac Malaulau, Stephanie Miller, Damien Preuss. Back, Ben Ogilvie.