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Athletes motivate youth

KORUMBURRA Secondary College students were treated to an inspirational talk from two professional athletes last Wednesday.

Commonwealth Games medallist Anabelle Smith and silver medallist paralympian Leanne del Toso spoke to students about their experiences in sport and study over the years.

Ms del Toso represented Australia in wheelchair basketball at the 2012 London Paralympics where her team won the silver medal.

After Ms del Toso’s basketball team did not qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympics, the athlete said she has reassessed her future on and off the court.

“You do not know where life is going to take you. So you have to take a step in the direction of your interest and in doing so doors will open,” she said.

“I am not fazed by my disability. There are always so many different ways you can get something done. I push myself to the limit and as soon as I started participating in sport I realised nothing can stop me.”

“My family want me to settle down but I want to keep playing for as long as I can. At this point it is too early to tell what my goals after Rio will be.”

Ms Smith shared her career highlights with students and passed around her medals in diving from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won bronze for the synchronised 10m event, and her bronze for the 10m platform at the World Championships.

“I have always been up for a challenge and I started training seriously at the beginning of high school,” she said.

Ms Smith said despite her incredible athletic achievements, she worked hard in school to ensure a future of further study, having completed her VCE English exam within a week of competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“I am glad I tried my best and put in as much effort as I could so I can study now,” she said.

“I am studying clinical exercise and physiology now so I can work in sport in the future.”

Ms Smith will be competing in trials next month in a bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics later this year.

The athletes shared the keys to their success with students.

“Perseverance is so important,” Ms Smith said.

“If I listened to everybody who told me I could not do it or could not compete at this level, then I would not be here today. You have to be confident in your own abilities.”

Words of wisdom: from left, Anabelle Smith and Leanne del Toso shared their elite sporting experiences with students from Korumburra Secondary College last Wednesday.

Words of wisdom: from left, Anabelle Smith and Leanne del Toso shared their elite sporting experiences with students from Korumburra Secondary College last Wednesday.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=18041

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