In 2023 Yasmina, 14 from London attended her second National Junior Games. After having a brilliant time in the previous year she was excited to return to Stoke Mandeville Stadium and discover some more sports.  

“I have been looking forward to it all year!”

Yasmina has Fredrich’s Ataxia, a rare disease that causes damage to the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and the cerebellum portion of the brain.“There’s lots of different ataxias and Fredrich’s ataxia is one of the most complex and one of the hardest. It involves a lot of chronic pain and I’ve got scoliosis but there’s still lots we don’t know. There’s no treatment so far but hopefully one day there will be.”

“My condition is neurological so it affects my nerves and how quick the reactions are. I can walk but in my condition by the age of 14 which I am now and you should stop walking by the age. But I can still walk and I always try to fight to always be able to walk. So far I can only walk with my walking frame and only for short distances but I'm trying more and more every day to get better and not get worse.”

Coming to the Games gives the opportunity for people like Yasmina to try a wide variety of sports and enjoy the physical and social benefits of sport.

“So far this week I’ve tried wheelchair basketball, tennis, fencing archery, boccia and table tennis and shooting! So I’ve tried a lot and I’m going to try more and soon I’m going to try swimming. When I play sports I feel like I’m free and I’m in to it. I love playing sports and its really important to my wellbeing and health.

After attending the Junior Games Yasmina has since discovered a love to two particular sports, Tennis and Horse Riding. She is now regularly attending both and developing her talent, and skillset with the support of a fantastic team of coaches.

“I currently play tennis at the National Tennis Centre and I do horse riding too. I have completed in a few competitions and recently qualified to grade one in dressage. Not long ago I competed in the regionals and qualified to nationals and second place. I’m getting better and better and hope to go to the 2028 Paralympic Games in LA. I'm now fundraising to get my own horse for the Paralympics in the future and that’s what I'm aiming for.”

After another week of sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium it was great to see Yasmina continuing to develop as an athlete and we wish her every success on her equestrian journey to the Paralympic Games.

Final words from Yasmina …

“It’s been great again, and I just love being here. I would definitely recommend the Games to other people with disabilities because its such an amazing event, you make friends and feel included. You can’t feel left out when you’re playing sports and it’s just really fun.”

Follow Yasmina’s Journey on Instagram