Lincoln para-athlete Montana Brown’s desire to try new things has her on the path to representing New Zealand in wheelchair racing.
The talented 15-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia, has recently fallen in love with the sport and now dedicates a lot of her spare time to training.
Already an avid target shooter and boccia player, it is her wheelchair racing which is starting to turn heads.
Montana, who attends Cashmere High School, has been awarded a Gold Heart Scholarship from children’s charity, Variety, worth up to the value of $5000.
Having only taken up the sport in October, Montana has already competed at the Halberg Junior Disability Games, where she finished third in the 50m race and second in both the 100m and 200m races.
Montana is currently using a borrowed wheelchair from ParaFed Canterbury, which is not quite right for her size.
She will be using this funding to assist in the purchase of a purpose-built wheelchair of her own.
“I really love the sport,” she says. “When I race, it’s a lot of effort through my arms and I often come back with big bruises but that’s okay because they look really cool.
Montana credits both ParaFed Canterbury and Cashmere High School’s conductive education programme for allowing her to have so many sporting opportunities. Conductive education is an educational system developed in Hungary in the 1940s.
Its objective is to enable physically disabled and multi-disabled individuals to actively participate in society by means of intensive and systematic training and practice.
Montana said she would like to represent New Zealand in the sprint distances of wheelchair racing at both the Commonwealth Games and Paralympics one day soon.
“Having watched the racing at the Commonwealth Games (earlier this year), it’s motivated me to keep training hard and keep improving.