Dis­abled rider an in­spi­ra­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Porirua rider and for­mer refugee Du Dway Ko has won the 2014 New Zealand Rid­ing for Dis­abled rider of the year award.

Ko was born two months pre­ma­turely in a small refugee camp, on the north­ern Thai­land bor­der.

He was born with cere­bral palsy and the fact he sur­vived was mirac­u­lous.

The de­gree of his disability had an im­pact on his abil­ity to speak and walk. He started walk­ing when he was 8.

Ko, his mother and younger brother ar­rived in New Zealand un­der the refugee scheme in 2006 (his fa­ther died in the camp) and set­tled in Porirua.

Donna Kennedy, pres­i­dent of Welling­ton Rid­ing for the Dis­abled, has seen Ko since he started rid­ing there last year.

‘‘Out­side the ther­apy en­vi­ron­ment, cere­bral palsy and horse rid­ing are not a nat­u­ral mar­riage,’’ she said.

‘‘Hav­ing cere­bral palsy and the im­pact on your body makes horse rid­ing a very dif­fi­cult sport to un­der­take. Du Dway has per­sisted and is now rid­ing in­de­pen­dently.’’

In a sports con­text, horse rid­ing had given Ko a sense of ac­com­plish­ment and well­be­ing, she said.

He re­cently won his class in a lo­cal dressage com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘Du Dway is a great role model and an in­spi­ra­tion to those with cere­bral palsy, the Rid­ing for the Dis­abled com­mu­nity and able-bod­ied rid­ers,’’ Kennedy said.

‘‘His drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion to ex­cel are out­stand­ing. He has a win­ning at­ti­tude and is a plea­sure to work with.’’

Big win: Du Dway Ko’s rid­ing ex­per­tise has been recog­nised.

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