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Article Date: 13 July 2012

Seventeen year old runner Torita Isaac of Marsden is on her way to London after being selected for the Paralympic Games.

Isaac suffers from Cerebral Palsy, seizures and a sight impairment that has left her with a minimal 10% vision in one eye only, and will be part of the Australian Paralympic athletics relay team in London taking part in the 4 x 100 m event.

The Marsden State High School student’s exciting journey started after an essay on Cathy Freeman and success in ‘mainstream’ school athletic events inspired her to set her mind to a career on the track.

Currently ranked fifth and sixth in the world for the 200m and 100m events respectively, Isaac holds the Track Field Cerebral Palsy class (TF38) 400m Australian record, 1500m Oceanic record and 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m Queensland records. Her selection for the Paralympic team is made even more remarkable by the fact that in April no less than 11 fractures were discovered in the plucky teenager’s legs after she collapsed following the 100m event at the Australian Nationals in Melbourne. 

“I just can’t believe I have been selected for the Paralympics, it is a dream come true,” said Isaac.

“When we found out about my legs in April I didn’t think I had a chance at selection, but I have been keeping up my fitness and am confident I can beat my personal best once I can get back on track later this month.

 “I have to say a big thank you to my family, everyone in my community and the Jimboomba Athletic Club for all of their support to get me where I am today.

“Growing up I always knew I was different to the other kids, but I didn’t let that stop me, I’m not a disabled person, I am a person with a disability and my differences make me who I am.

“It has been hard growing up with disabilities but I found an outlet in athletics - when I'm running, I'm in my own world that no one can get me out of and I can do what I love best!

“Ever since I started I knew that running for Australia and winning gold at a Paralympics was what I wanted to do – I am so excited to now have the chance to go after that dream!”

Isaac is also inspiring away from the track, with her story gaining a standing ovation when she spoke earlier this month at the Queensland State Emergency Centre as part of her educational scholarship and NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week celebrations.

“Her mum Vicki and I are so very proud of everything she has done both on and off the track,” said proud father Jason Isaac.

“It is just so amazing to see how she inspires everyone around her, such as the crowd at the NAIDOC event who were on their feet after her speech, and she certainly inspires us every day!”

Just days before being selected for the London team, Isaac was taking some time out developing a new passion, standing on the start line at Queensland’s premier drag racing facility Willowbank Raceway.

“I was really enjoying the sounds of the racers on track and the smell of the tyre smoke but I couldn’t tell whether they were cars or bikes because of my sight, and the Willowbank Raceway staff were kind enough to let me on the start line, I even got to flick the starting switch!” said Isaac.

“That was so amazing, it was my first time at the drags but I had a great night and I will definitely be going back soon and often – I loved it!”

Initially classed as a T13 (Vision Impaired) competitor, Isaac now competes under a TF38 classification which reflect her added disability, Cerebral Palsy. The Jimboomba Athletics Club member will head to Cardiff, London for the Paralympics (29 August – 9 September 2012) in just over a month.

For more information on Torita or how you can support her London campaign, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Torita-Isaac/329154753812457 or email tornakitpt@yahoo.com.au.

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