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Courtney hurdles obstacles for the love of sport

Courtney Lewis
Courtney Lewis, aged 13, has broken records and snared medals but attributes her best sporting moment to when she finished her first hurdles race at age 11.

24 Jan 2018

Courtney Lewis, at age 13, has broken Australian records and snared state and national gold medals for her achievements in athletics.

But she attributes her biggest sporting achievement so far to the day she successfully finished her first 60-metre hurdles race at a South Australian Little Athletics multi-event meet, at age 11.

It was a daunting task as Courtney, who is legally blind, said she struggles to see the obstacles until she is within 2 metres of them.

“When I started practising for the hurdles I fell over which made me sad and frustrated,” Courtney said.

“But I really wanted to compete so I kept going and with practice I was able to do it. On the day of the event, all the girls were cheering me on so it was good to have that support, it gave me confidence.

“I was really, really happy I could get over them.”

Courtney has only 10 per cent vision after being born without properly formed irises, the result of an eye abnormality called coloboma.

That has not stopped her from participating in sport, gaining early confidence while participating in calisthenics at age six. Courtney took up athletics four years ago after being recommended through a Paralympic talent search at the South Australian School for Vision Impaired.

“Sport has given me so much confidence, it has shown me I can do anything, and I’ve made some wonderful friends,” she said.

“It has also given me the chance to make goals and I’m really proud when I’ve achieved them.”

For Courtney, this list of achievements include breaking Australian records in the U16 and U18 age groups in her para athlete classification (T/F 13) for discus, shotput and javelin. She has also won gold, silver and bronze medals at national school competitions. Her next goals include competing at the Junior World Championships in London in July this year, the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“I really love athletics and I hope I can show other visually impaired athletes that anything is possible!”

So what are Courtney’s top tips for other kids wanting to play sport?

“Have fun, believe in yourself, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t win because it’s all about having fun and being involved.”

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Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

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