We are all familiar with the outstanding achievements in 2018 of Paralympian Jaryd Clifford who competed in the 1500m at the able bodied World U20 Championships. Another strong prospect emerging in para-athletics and now competing in able bodied competition is Perth’s T12 visually impaired athlete, Jackson Hamilton.
In Cairns he will compete in the under-16 para shot and discus and under-16 discus against the able bods ! More impressively he is a medal contender in the under-16 discus with his extraordinary PB of 59.52m.
This year he has obliterated the national under-16 para-athletics records, raising the discus from 41m to 59.52 metres, shot put from 11m to 14.89m and javelin from 26m to 48.52m. He has also broken under-18 records.
“I have set 28 records since March 2016,” said Jackson.
Cairns will be history making for him.
“Yes this is the first time I have competed in an able bodied competition at a National event. Discus is currently my best event however in Tokyo (Paralympics) they only have javelin and shot put for my classification.”
He is guided by two emerging coaches, Morgan Ward (javelin) and Allana Wignall (discus and shotput). Ward, only 25, is himself a 72-metre thrower, while Wignall also coaches another Tokyo Paralympic hopeful, Chris Barty who is seeking selection in seated throws. Wignall’s squad also includes the favourite for Hamilton’s discus in Cairns, Etienne Rousseau who is currently the under-16 national shot put and discus champion.
“Morgan is fantastic - the kids love him and he is so dedicated. We are very lucky to have them both,” noted Jackson’s mum, Amy Hamilton.
Jackson has set-out his goals for Cairns.
“I’m aiming to achieve PB’s and hopefully gold in both para shot and discus, and to try and place top-5 in able bodied discus.”
He will then turn his attention to the 2020 Paralympics and graduation to senior implements.
“The remainder of the summer I will be working towards throwing the 800 grams javelin at national seniors in March to try and qualify for Tokyo and also working on my technique and strength and conditioning.”
Jackson started athletics as a six-year-old at UWA Little Athletics Centre, but has had to adjust his sport around his changing medical circumstances. His condition, Juvenile Retinoschisis, was diagnosed in year 1 when he was aged six, then it worsened two years ago with his retinal detachment when he was 13.
“I use to play basketball and was in the future development squad and represented WA in cross country until I had a retinal detachment and my vision declined to a point that is was no longer safe.”
Sport is strong element in the family, as Jackson’s dad represented New Zealand in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in Beach Volleyball. The Year 10 student at Shenton College, has hobbies of swimming and going to the gym.
No surprise Jaryd Clifford is a role model for Jackson. Other role models included WA Paralympic distance runner Brad Scott and decathlete Cedric Dubler.
Australian All Schools Information:
Timetable & athlete information http://www.athletics.com.au/Compete/Events/2018-australian-all-schools-championships
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia