Henry Vira, new Director General for the Ministry of Youth Development & Sport has told a recent meeting of the Ministry staff that it’s time to “Step Up!” By this the Director General was exhorting everyone to not only improve administration and management of Department resources, but also encouraging everyone to improve their performance at work, in youth organisations and in sport.
“Stepping Up” is certainly a cry that the small squad of parathletes in Isangel, Tanna has been hearing.
“I have a small but dedicated squad of three young athletes training regularly,” comments their coach, Timothy Loughman. “We have only a few pieces of equipment and a small fund for bus-fares for transport to and from the training. But they are really determined. Timothy’s parathletes have not had easy lives but their difficulties have just made them stronger and more determined to step up and make the most of their athletics skills.
“Look at my ability, not my disability,” says 2018 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, Friana Kwevira.
David Niere, a young 25 year old athlete from Namkaiel Village, Tanna has done just that. Despite growing up with badly damaged arms, David has always loved playing sport, disregarding what others see as his “disability.” Instead, with determination to succeed despite his problems, with perseverance in spite of difficulties getting to training, no proper equipment and often the derision of other young athletes who do not understand the problems faced by those growing up in Vanuatu with an impairment – David set himself athletics goals and is achieving them.
A Talent Identification Program in May 2018, funded by the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee, the Carbine Club, Oceania Paralympic Committee, Credit Corp and the AGITOS Foundation, recognised David’s potential. This potential was not just in one sport but three — running, javelin and shot put.
David trains regularly with Timothy Loughman’s VPC parasports squad in Isangel. If he can’t get to training because of lack of funding for transport, David trains at home. Running? David just runs – very fast.
Because of his commitment to training, David’s performances in running has continued to improve – in fact they are outstanding. The improved times and have led to David’s selection for Team Vanuatu entry to the Arafura Games Darwin, Australia (27th April to 4th May 2019). After Arafura, David is looking forward to the National Games in Tanna in May 2019, the Pacific Games in Samoa for which he has already been selected on the Short List and after that, depending on his results, perhaps the World Championships in Dubai and of course the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
“Step Up” David Niere!