Arthri­tis no de­ter­rent to ath­lete

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

‘‘He started hob­bling The colder it got, the worse he got.’’

Af­ter weeks of miss­ing school due to lethargy and sick­ness, He­lene took him to the GP.

Over the course of a year, he was re­ferred to WaiKids in Hamil­ton, and then Star­ship.

A ge­netic test fi­nally pro­vided an an­swer.

Ol­lie has en­the­si­tis arthri­tis, where the ten­don hits the joint.

Dad Derek Far­relly has anky­los­ing spondyli­tis, spinal arthri­tis. Ol­lie man­ages the con­di­tion with daily med­i­ca­tion, but it has had an ad­verse ef­fect on his gut.

He has three monthly tests to check his liver and kid­ney func­tion.

When the weather is warm, Ol­lie is on form, but his health can go down­hill fast.

‘‘I can sleep most of the day,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not cool. I wish I was nor­mal.’’

A meet­ing with coach Roy Wil­liams at the Te Aroha Ath­let­ics Club, where his sis­ter Emma trains, changed ev­ery­thing.

Wil­liams, a for­mer Com­mon­wealth Games gold medal­list in track and field de­cathlon, asked Ol­lie why he wasn’t par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ath­let­ics events.

Af­ter a de­tailed ex­pla­na­tion, Wil­liams took the young boy on.

‘‘He thought it was re­ally sad,’’ said Ol­lie. ’’He helped me with my tech­nique in shot put. It was re­ally cool some­one cared and went out of their way to help me.’’

Rather than glid­ing, Ol­lie shuf­fles in the cir­cle, which is less pres­sure on knee joints.

But shot put started putting pres­sure on Ol­lie’s joints.

So, Ol­lie started dis­cuss too, help­ing equalise the pres­sure.

Since new year, He­lene says Ol­lie has been achiev­ing well with ath­let­ics.

Ol­lie has bro­ken record af­ter record in the dis­cuss.

He broke the Mata­mata Col­lege record held since 1970, with his throw of 37.26m and the Mata­mata Ath­let­ics record of 24m, with his throw of 37.43.

In the North Is­land Col­gate Games, Ol­lie placed 2nd in shot put, plac­ing him 3rd in New Zealand, for 12-year-olds.

At the in­ter­provin­cials in Master­ton over Easter with the Waikato/BoP team, Ol­lie placed 1st in shot put and 3rd in dis­cuss, from 90 par­tic­i­pants in his age group.

He­lene says it’s all at­trib­uted to Wil­liams’ train­ing and her son’s de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Ol­lie plans to con­tinue train­ing through win­ter, as he can, and come sum­mer, will hope­fully smash more records.


Ol­lie Mor­ton-Far­relly smashes records in ath­let­ics, de­spite bat­tling child­hood arthri­tis.


Ol­lie Mor­ton-Far­relly (right) with fel­low ath­lete Khan Todd.

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