A young visually impaired student from Co. Laois who has recently taken up wrestling, is competing in his first mainstream competition in the sport later this week.
Thirteen year old Jordan Percy from Portlaoise is amongst a group of young people with sight loss who have shown remarkable progress in the sport, and will join sighted wrestlers in a major competition on Thursday ,19th May in Nenagh .
Jordan’s Mother, T racey, says an incident involving young Jordan prompted her to make enquiries about self defence classes for young students with sight loss.
“Jordan received a punch to the face, it wasn’t meant for him but he got in the way. I wanted him to be able to protect himself. Some parents may, understandably , be concerned that their kids might hurt themselves but the way I look at it is kids who are visually impaired bump into things every day. It’s the norm for us so we weren’t at all concerned about Jordan getting involved in this .I have three kids, all of whom are visually impaired. I am visually impaired myself and I feel that for me and my kids ,fostering and encouraging independence is key. At least now they will have the skills and be equipped to defend themselves. He adores it and his confidence is gone through the roof . My other son Lee also goes and he loves it too”.
“The Laois Sports Partnership has been fantastic as has the NCBI, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. The wrestling tutor, Marek Stankiewicz is just wonderful, he doesn’t make any distinctions whatsoever. He is very strict too, doesn’t take any messing which is great!. All the lads get stuck in and have fun as they learn their new skills”.
Marek, who is originally from Poland …”Everybody is a student to me, irrespective. I don’t differentiate between children who are sighted or non-sighted. It is integration through sport. Jordan is in the competition because he deserves to be there . The sighted competitors will be blindfolded to ensure fair play”.
Aileen Ahern, Community Resource Worker with the NCBI in Laois / Offaly says
“The wrestling has been really good for this group of lads, their confidence has definitely increased and it has allowed them to get stuck into a very physical activity. They are also part of a social group which is so important so it’s a win win for everybody. The instructor Marek has been really proactive and encouraging and is hoping to bring these lads to Para Olympic level. It’s fantastic for them and they are a great example to other young people with sight loss as they are proving once again that they can do so much, incredible things really, when given a chance”.