Your Pick Me Ups!
Jodie’s invisible disability doesn’t stop her
My dad Phil, 48, always said I was born to be an athlete. Apparently, I’d run around the house, carrying bags of carrots, aged three!
I was a happy little kid, despite being born deaf.
I’d never let it hold me back, had cochlear implants fitted when I was only 14 months old, loved to sing and feel music through the vibrations.
At school, I excelled in sport, too. Track, field, and rugby.
OK, I missed the whistle a few times, but I learned to watch people closely, spot gaps in play, then pounce!
Leaving school, I joined an elite rugby programme
at Loughborough College.
And at 16, I made the England Under 18s, and the Women’s Deaf 7s.
There were others like me, playing with their disabilities.
At 15, I qualified for the Deaflympics as a track athlete.
You probably wouldn’t know – but it’s been going on longer than the Paralympics.
This June, I travelled to Turkey to compete with 4,000 other deaf athletes.
I represented Great Britain in the 100m and 200m races.
GB won nine medals. And I made it through the qualifying rounds, to the finals!
Sadly, the event isn’t funded. I even have to buy my kit.
Next April, I’m travelling to Australia for the first World Deaf 7s, with the women’s England deaf squad.
And in Winter, to Belarus for the Deaf Indoor Athletic Championships.
I just need to fundraise to get there!
Sport makes me feel alive. Having a disability should never hold you back from chasing your dreams.
For more info on Jodie’s fundraising, see www.gofundme.com/ jodies-deaflympic-dream
Jodie Ounsley, 16, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
Early start: as a carrotlifting champ! I ran in the 100m and 200m Representing gb in june’s deaflympics