Top performance matches Julie Charlton's ambition

Give the girl a hand: Julie Charlton on a golden path. Picture: Gene Ramirez
Give the girl a hand: Julie Charlton on a golden path. Picture: Gene Ramirez

IN her imagination, Julie Charlton goes to Rio; she's at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.

"She's so determined, she's already there," mother Julie has said of daughter's ambition.

And performance is fast matching ambition.

The 14-year-old Julie had a golden time in the under-19s at the 2014 state athletics titles.

She won the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metre wheelchair races and the shot put and discus in the disability section.

You could put it down to determination and hard work certainly.

But you could add a visit to Charlton's Hills Grammar School by renowned Paralympian Rosemary Little.

The Paralympics medallist saw Charlton and saw potential.

Little invited her along to the Sydney Olympic Park for training.

"She adored it, being coached by Rosemary and Paralympians Louise Sauvage and Angie Ballard," is how mum has described the big Little influence.

A new cricket bat, tennis racquet, football, skateboard, bicycle, pair of boots . . . such presents can be big events in young teenagers' lives, even transformative.

That's been true for Julie, but as a spina bifida sufferer, she needed more.

On that school visit, Little had also told her: "You need a proper wheelchair."

Determination and hard work came into play again. She got on to Facebook and started fund-raising the $4000 needed for a racing wheelchair.

Since possessing her very own racing wheelchair she hasn't looked back, and rivals have mostly seen her back.

When the wheelchair was procured near the end of the 2013 season, Julie tooled around Parramatta Park preparing for the season's last event — the 10 kilometres — her first go at a long-distance race.

Julie won silver.

That presaged the golden path that is odds-on to lead to Rio.

This story Top performance matches Julie Charlton's ambition first appeared on Hills News.


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