A love for sports overrides disability
‘‘He always pushes himself, he always has since he was a baby’’
Nothing gets in the way of 10-year old Jahstice Harris Matthews who is set to compete in this year’s Halberg Junior Disability Games.
The young Ngaruawahia resident with cerebral palsy is set to take part in athletics and boccia among others sports in the October event.
Run over three days at Kings College in Papakura, the sports competition is for physically disabled and visually impaired 8 to 21 year olds.
Around 200 athletes are expected to compete in nine regional teams across a range of sports.
Jahstice was diagnosed with the condition after a severe head injury when he was six months old, his mum Girly Harris said.
‘‘It was just the physical part of his brain,’’ she said.
Academically, he has no problems, but the condition causes tightening of the muscles, affecting movement and balance.
He uses splints and goes to physiotherapy.
But his love of sports overrides the difficulties he faces.
‘‘He just accepted it and he just does the best with what he’s got,’’ Harris said.
‘‘He always pushes himself, he always has since he was a baby.’’
You’ll often find Jahstice playing rugby in the full back pos- ition at lunch time with his friends.
And once a week he travels to the Waikato University recreational centre with his support worker to play sports.
It’s a place where he feels normals, Harris said.
Huntly’s Kale Hunter will also be competing for the third time in the Halberg Junior Disability Games.
The 20-year-old will be representing Waikato in wheelchair basketball.
Born with with spina bifida, has earned himself a spot on the New Zealand under 23 wheelchair basketball team last year.
He has previously received support from the Halberg Foundation towards a basketball wheelchair which he will be using in this year’s games.
The games is a sports festival style event that will include an opening ceremony. The celebration will include lighting the official Games flame and a parade of the regional teams and special guest, Olympic pole vault bronze medallist, Eliza McCartney.
Rugby fanatic Jahstice Harris Matthews is looking forward to competing in the Halberg Junior Disability Games.