Young champion is making mark
ROLLING up to the spot, 13-year-old Joel Blake is a student driven to succeed.
Sitting in his wheelchair, Joel has tackled the world of athletics head-on, and is proving a force to be reckoned with in both track and field.
Firmly gripping the shotput and discus apparatus, Joel threw his way to success at the Laidley District High School athletics carnival with a 1.86m throw for shotput and a 5.25m throw for discus recently.
The solid results booked him a place at the Regional Met West school sport trials last week.
Determined to build on his achievements, Joel threw a personal best of 2.05m for shotput and 6.51m for discus to rightfully secure his spot on the MetWest team to contest the Queensland School Sport State Championships to be held in Brisbane next month.
Joel has also proven a speedster on the track. He will compete in the 100m at the state school sport competition.
Debuting at the Met West competition, and soon at a state level, Joel said he was embracing all the new experiences and challenges that came with the competitions.
"It was really tough," he said.
"They actually put chains on me to lock me down so I couldn't move and so there was no risk of falling."
"It's just the challenge of throwing and there's a good atmosphere. I like being around other people and being sociable."
"And I like getting involved with people and pushing myself."
Joel's father, Ben, said he was proud of his son's achievements and hoped he could continue his run of success.
"I think we found something he can claim as his own," Ben said.
"He was the first kid to compete in a wheelchair (at Met West) so it's unique in that sense too.
"He's also joined the little A's in Laidley."
Gearing up for the state school sport championships, Joel said he hoped to again improve on his PBs and go one better and don the maroon.
"I hope to just compete and throw my hardest, and hopefully, I'll get into the Queensland team," he said.
"I want to beat my personal best and just throw well."
To help Joel further his success in track and field, Ben said he was looking for support to help raise money to purchase a new wheelchair, specially designed for track and field competitions.
For more information, or to help Joel, email brblake1@bigpond. com.au.