Today’s champion’s profile features para-athlete, Ellie Enock.
According to the Australian Paralympic Committees system of categorizing para athletes, she falls under T/F 40-47 category.
This is a category for athletes with a physical disability who are ambulant and have different levels of limb deficiency or limb loss, congenital limb impairments or short stature.
The ambulant short putter was born at Norsup Hospital on Malekula into a family of four siblings. The last born of two boys and two girls grew up with the love of basketball and volleyball, throughout her childhood while attending Fresh Wota Bilingual Primary School.
The girl from Atchin Island of the North East coast of Malekula carried on her love for basketball and volleyball while attending Aore Adventist Academy on Aore Island off the coast of Santo and she competed in the school competition in basketball.
Since completion of high school. Ellie worked as a therapist at Rina’s spar located at the Melanesian Hotel. However, her life had a major turning point when she was involved in a car accident while travelling around Efate.
Unfortunately, the mother of one was badly injured and the doctors had to amputate her left leg below the knee.
There is an old saying that goes,” what doesn’t kill, always makes you stronger. The Wan Smol Bag actress of the Rainbow Disability Group is living proof of this saying because this was a major turning point in her life.
Having to get use to the fact of losing a limb was challenging but having a wonderful family who always encouraged her was something that gave her strength. Her parents always encouraged her to think positive.
Upon hearing about the Rainbow Disability group, she decided she was going to make a change in her life and approached them. It was from there that she discovered para sports.
Equity and Inclusion Officer of VASANOC, Jessica Richardson was really encouraging and supported her in giving shot put a go.
After going through a trial against other potential para athletes, Ellie made the cut and was selected to represent Vanuatu at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games here in Port Vila. Training was on a daily basis at the Ecole Centre- Ville sports field under the guidance of coach Kalana.
During the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, the 29-year-old felt the pressure of competition but believed in herself and wore the national colours with pride. Starting the competition with a strong determination to win for the home crowd, Elie finished fourth in her event, just shy of a bronze medal in her first games representing Vanuatu.
Nowadays apart from enjoying the good food, the wife of a Moorings Hotel Chef is training for the Arafura Games in April in Darwin, Australia and the Pacific Games later on in Samoa under the guidance of the same coach.
When asked about her outlook on para sports in general, the chairlady of the Vanuatu Disability Promotion Advocacy Association hopes to see para sport grown in future and see more competitions organized regularly and to see more women and girls living with a disability to come out and participate in para sports.
She also says living with a disability is not the end of the line and encourages others out there living with a disability, to always think positive and come out to join the activities at wan Smol Bag as they have a chance in making it big.