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Anthony • 15 mins
By Bridget Hicks (PSG Staff)
For 12-year-old Isaiah (on the far left in the photo), goalball is more than just a sport he plays, it has become an absolute passion and an outlet to connect with other kids.
He is representing South Australia at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide this week and is no stranger to strong competition, having competed at the Australian Goalball Championships in 2016 and 2017 and at the Queensland state titles earlier this year.
Olivia Muller, Isaiah’s mum, said that he is the one driving his success in the sport.
“He just wants it, he would actually spend every minute in the gym if I would let him,” Olivia said.
“It’s not a case of anyone trying to push him.
“He’s got, sometimes I say a little bit too much, drive to win, he’s maybe a little bit too competitive, but he just loves it,” Olivia said.
Isaiah’s physical education teacher at the South Australian School for Vision Impaired introduced him to goalball a couple of years ago.
“After playing in a school tournament, there was a come’n’try day,” Olivia continued.
“We went along, he had a go and he’s just kind of loved it from day one, and his passion has just grown and grown from it.”
“It’s just been such a good thing for him, not just because he loves the sport and he happens to be quite talented in it, but also there is so much more than that.
“It’s the friendships, it’s the social skills and all of those little things.”
When Isaiah played at the 2016 Australian Goalball Championships in Sydney, he met a young girl name Ally.
Olivia said that the two youngsters run into each other at goalball events and now share a formidable friendship.
“They are just like two peas in a pod,” Olivia said with a smile.
“They’ve both lost both of their eyes to retinoblastoma from cancer and they are both cheeky, wacky, fun kids.
“When they get together, they’re super loud and they are like the same version of each other.
“It’s just been a huge blessing overall, really, because it’s brought him out of his shell and it’s been really good for him to have these relationships.
“He’s just generally a happier kid.”
The goalball competition at the 2017 Pacific School Games will continue with round-robin games on Thursday, 7th December before teams play off for final placings on Friday.