To commemorate Hearing Awareness Week, LANSW has decided to spotlight one of the hearing-impaired athletes taking part in the State Track and Field Championships at SOPAC next weekend – 10-year-old Alice Hancock from Wakehurst Little Athletics Club.
After joining Little Athletics in 2014, Alice Hancock has been heartily training to improve her track and field skills, which paid off during a stunning 2018/19 season.
In the 2018 State Track and Field Championship, Hancock came 7th in the U9 shot put event, throwing a best of 6.47m.
“My favourite moments have been winning a gold medal at State Relay this year, and also competing for State in the shot put last year,” said Hancock.
The shot-put enthusiast is undeniably looking forward to competing in the State Track and Field again on March 16th-17th but admits to being wary of the newly-introduced age division cut off, which puts her up against the U11 athletes.
“I like any throwing event because I am good at them and I have formed friendships with lots of girls competing in the same events from our club and other clubs,” said Hancock.
“This year I am one of the youngest, whereas last year I was one of the oldest – so it is much harder.”
Hancock recognises the difficulty her hearing impairment poses for competitiveness athletics, but she has not let this deter her – the 10-year-old has shown inspirational resilience to continue striving for great things on and off the track.
“When I have been to surgery, I have come back very weak – it takes a while to get my strength back,” said Hancock.
“I have had pain in my head which makes it hard to concentrate – I also have difficulty with my balance sometimes.
“Sometimes I struggle to hear the starting gun properly when they use the electronic beeps instead of a gun.”
Despite the barriers her disability poses, Hancock is determined to achieve her highest potential in athletics.
“I would like to improve my jumping and hurdles – I am not very good at these events,” said Hancock.
“I would like to get lots of PB’s and win a medal at State with little athletics and also make it to State for school.”
The 2019 State Track and Field Championships start Saturday, 16 March at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre.