Orla national junior games 2022

“Sport makes me feel more alive and because there’s lots of disabled sports now there’s stuff that I wouldn’t think I could do that I can now do. With all the other disabled people being around I’ve felt at home here and I will definitely be back next year”

Orla is just 10 years old and from High Wycombe. She is attending her very first National Junior Games alongside her Mum and they are both very much looking forward to trying everything that’s available.

Her Mum Sue tells us a little bit more about Orla, “She has Cerebral Palsy and was diagnosed at birth. She is diplegic which means she can’t use her legs but can use the rest of her body works quite well. She had an operation in 2016 called SDR to remove all spasticity and since then she has been doing a lot of sports and therapy to build up her strength. So all of her muscles now are her own strength which is why playing sport and events like this are so important to Orla.”

Orla currently plays for the local wheelchair basketball team, the Stoke Mandeville Aces who recommended that she come along to the Games to try different sports and most importantly have fun!

Orla told us what she’s been up to since arriving, “It’s my first time here and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Today my favourite thing was the canoeing, which I haven’t done before. It wasn’t supposed to be competitive but if you did it really fast it was really fun, and when I was doing it I felt I could go faster and it pushed me to do more and more.”

“I’ve been doing all the sports too. Wheelchair basketball, tennis and lots of others. My favourite would be the table tennis and the archery.”

Her Mum explains why sport and events like this are vital for disabled children like Orla, “It’s been great, emotional, a little exhausting! It’s just an amazing thing to be involved with. To see all these children getting involved and doing the best they can across all these different sports. And an opportunity that we would never get normally to get involved in as much sport as possible really.”

orla national junior games 2022

“Sport is good for Orla and for all of us as a family. It’s gives us the chance us to meet other families with children with disabilities and also opens up new hobbies & activities and try things we haven’t done before.”

“After this week she is going to take away alot of independence and awareness that she can do things that she didn’t think she would be able to. I have noticed that she has been really independent over the last few days which is so good to see. She is also one of the youngest here so seeing the older children and what can be achieved will be great for Orla in the future and I think she will want to carry on with lots of sports to and get involved in other things as a result of coming to the Games.”

Orla’s determination and hard work during the event was recognised by the WheelPower staff, coaches and volunteers who awarded her The Progress, Outstanding Effort and Personality Award. The certificate and Amazon voucher was presented to a very emotional Orla by WheelPower volunteers Sandy and Val.

Congratulations to Orla on your well deserved award and a fantastic week at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. We are sure we will be seeing you again and hope we can support you to continue your sporting journey in the future.

orla national junior games 2022