Medals Galore

The Dwarf Sports Association (DSA) held their 22nd National Games last weekend in Birmingham. One hundred and ninety eight athletes took part, ranging in age from 2-68. For many, like myself and my family, it was our first time coming together with others like me. When young people with dwarfism compete in schools they nearly alway come last. At the games they can compete with others on an equal footing. The DSA have eight regions and as there are not many with dwarfism from Cornwall, I made up part of the south west regional team. These games are also IPC sanctioned, meaning athletes are also competing for world ranking positions as well as qualifying for European and world events.

The DSA uses sport as a tool to create positivity into people’s lives with any form of dwarfism, from grass roots to Paralympic athletes like Ellie Simmonds and Matthew Whorwood from Newquay. Ellie started with the DSA as a young girl and is now their patron along with Matthew.

Over the three day event I took part in both track and field events plus some team sports, winning medals in both my own right and as part of the team. I also helped to boost the points tally for the South West Region in the National Open Games shield which is awarded to the region with the highest medal tally. Unfortunately we came second this year with the South Central Region winning.

I’m registered as a class 3 athlete by Disability Sport England (DSE) due to my dwarfism condition and my height and I competed against other class 3 athletes in the under 13 category. I’m still waiting for my official times, but took a Silver medal in the 60m, 40m and 4x60m relay, plus a bronze in the discus with a throw of 3.10m and I won Gold in the javelin by throwing 8.80m. In my team we won Silver in basketball and football with another Gold medal for the hockey, I also took part in the swimming competing in the 25m freestyle and 25m back stroke taking Silver again in both of these. I am just so amazed as to how well I did, as I have never taken part in anything like this before and up to four weeks ago couldn’t swim a length, but to have Ellie’s mum at the end of my swimming lane cheering me on was just amazing! However, my highlight has to be meeting both Ellie Simmonds and Warwick Davis who were also competing at the games!

The weekend has inspired me to continue with some training and hopefully I will be selected to make up team GB for the Dwarf World Games in 2017 which will be held in Holland.

Report by Abigail Birch