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Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Page: 5369


Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (09:48): I rise to mark the achievement of an extraordinary constituent in my electorate, Ms Kristy Pond. Born prematurely with cerebral palsy and other significant health issues requiring long-term, arduous treatment and surgery, Kristy and her family have faced numerous challenges over the past 15 years. Never expected to walk or talk, Kristy has defied the odds in an amazing way and excelled on the athletic field. Her passion for wheelchair athletics is inspirational and a wonderful testament to what can be achieved through a positive attitude, focus and commitment. Kristy's long list of sporting achievements, including setting Australian records and her many gold medals, is very impressive, but not as impressive as her tenacity and her respect for discipline in the demanding nature of her training. In the worlds of Carl Lewis, track and field champion worldwide, it is all about the journey and not about the outcome. I have had the privilege of meeting Kristy and getting to know her and her family. I can tell you that she is a dedicated young lady. She is a humble achiever. She is somebody who quietly enjoys her journey so far. In spite of her high profile in the sporting world and her dominance on the track, she remains a very fun-loving and committed 15-year-old. Her talent is highly sought after, and Kristy is invited to many local, national and international events. She has caught the eye of many on and off the track and has been nominated for a Pride of Australia medal in the Child of Courage category. The International Paralympic Committee has named her athlete of the month, the second youngest ever winner of the award. She has been named Parramatta Sportsperson of the Year and NewsLocal Junior Sports Star, and she ran the Queen's baton prior to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. This year Kristy has been named New South Wales Young Athlete with a Disability. In 2011, during the Oceania Paralympic Championships held in conjunction with the Arafura Games in Darwin, Kristy won an outstanding seven gold medals. She takes on all her competitors with courage and says that she loves the challenge and the journey.

I am happy to report for the House that the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will be the 15th Paralympics and will take place between 29 August and 9 September 2012 in London. It was fantastic to hear that Kristy has been chosen to represent Australia at the games. I know she is going to go on to do great things. I congratulate her for this great honour on behalf of my electorate and all members here. I wish her every success and a wonderful life experience that she will never forget.

It would be remiss of me to overlook in all of this the dedication and selflessness of Kristy's mother, Jenny, who sacrificed so much to coach her daughter to reach her personal goals. Jenny and her family are the essence of parents and families who love their children and encourage and support their children's abilities and talents in achieving such great things, in this case against all odds. For Kristy, good luck in the coming Paralympics. You are an amazing young lady and we wish you all the best.