Young swimmer hopes to make Paralympics

By Taroi Black

A nine-year-old boy named Rawiri Tristram hopes one day to turn his sporting dreams into a reality. Even though he can't walk his determination to succeed in swimming, basketball and rugby has given him recognition at the Halberg Junior Disability Games.

“At first I was excited and as soon as we arrived I was very nervous and I made new friends and they started to support me,” he says.

He's the current reigning champion in the 25m freestyle swimming and the current winner of the Spirit of the Game awards. 

CEO Halberg Games Shelley McMeeken says, “He was the first athlete that I met when I turned up here last year. I think he actually signifies what this game is about. Yes, it's about competition but so much more than that. It's about making friends, being here with your mates and just the love of the sport.”

Born with spina bifida limited his abilities and heightened his fears.

“When I was little I didn't like water and my swimming teacher helped me,” Tristram said.

Today was an opportunity for him to meet his inspiration gold medallist Paralympian Cameron Leslie.

“He never gives up and he always tries his best.”