Tait may be our new Paralympic star
PRODIGIOUS Tait Jenkins is proof that nothing can stand in the way of sporting success.
The 16-year-old talented boccia player has been earmarked for the highest levels of Paralympic sport - and could be set to earn national honours as well.
Despite only taking the sport up little over a year ago, Tait has been identified by the Australian Paralympic Committee as a candidate for the 2016 Rio Games.
Although he is wheelchair-bound and has a rare genetic muscular condition, Tait, who attends Lismore's Trinity Catholic College, is determined to enjoy his promising career in the sport.
"It is good to know that even though I have a disability, I am not held back in any way," he said.
I guess it shows you can make the best out of every situation and something good can come from something bad.
"I am really happy."
The Year 10 student has spinal muscular atrophy, a condition which causes severe muscle damage and weakness.
North Coast Academy of Sport (NCAS) representative Tait discovered boccia, which is similar to bowls, after being invited to a training camp for disabled competitors about 14 months ago.He immediately impressed selectors with his skills in the sport, which sees participants earn points for getting their bowls close to the jack.
"I am not sure why I am good at it," he said.
"I was quite good at chess and maybe that has helped.
"It is quite a strategic sport and quite psychological, which I quite like.
"I am really happy I have got to the level so quickly."
Tait has received coaching and training help from NCAS and The Lord's Taverners, which helps support young people with sporting activities.
He has been included in the provisional NSW squad for the 2013 National titles and is also hoping to represent Australia in Asia Pacific Games next year.
The prospect of a place at the 2016 Games is also driving Tait on.
"It would be phenomenal to be in the Paralympics," he said.
"To come back with a medal would be amazing.
"It is just great that I have found a sport that is so friendly and competitive.
"I am really enjoying it."