Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet the People - 26

Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – At just 14, Hokitika’s Holly Robinson (Ngai Tahu), knows exactly where’s she’s going in life and she plans to get there fast. The fact that she was born without a lower left arm has never stopped her from doing anything and she certainly hasn’t let it stand in her way of incredible athletic success. “I was seven when I decided I was going to win everything I entered,” says Holly. “I’ve always had big plans and my main goal now is to attend the 2012 Paralympics in London as part of the New Zealand team.” Holly already has more trophies, certificates and national records than you can poke a stick at and for her, it’s just the beginning. Her parents, Steve and Pauline say she’s always been competitive – “right from when she started playing football at four,” says Steve. “She’s very outgoing and very determined. We got her an artificial limb when she was small but she kept throwing it away and even without it, she could tie her own shoelaces by the time she was three.”
Holly started with rugby and netball at four. She still loves netball and is currently a member of three teams - the Westland High School team, a regional rep team and the South Island Secondary Schools team; but athletics are her real passion. She currently holds the Paralympics New Zealand senior and junior records for discus, javelin, shot put and long jump. She is a member of the Greymouth Senior Athletic Club, Parafed Canterbury and now, the Paralympics New Zealand Under-20 squad, which competed in the Australian Paralympics Youth Games in Melbourne in October. Since 2006 she has accumulated a string of awards and selections into representative teams; and in 2007 she was a finalist and runner-up in the Hokitika Lions Young Achievers’ Award. She was nominated for the Westland Sports Sportsman of the Year award this year and just to top all that off, she recently scored 100% in her netball exams, qualifying her to become a netball umpire. It goes without saying that most of Holly’s time is given over to physical activity. She trains or plays sport six days a week. That includes a gym session once a week, playing basketball, training for her three netball teams and several hours a week with her Greymouth athletics coach, Danny Spark.
Not content to rest just yet, Holly has applied for a place in the New Zealand Academy of Sports fast track programme, ‘Xccelerate 2 Xcellence,’ which aims to identify and support paralympic sports talent. She is also determined to get to the Paralympic World Games in Christchurch in 2011 and then to the Paralympic Games in London in 2012. “That’s my next big challenge. That’s what I want most of all,” says Holly. “Getting to London in 2012 would be the best thing ever.”

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