Chandelle Falls said it was an “honour” to be among the first group of athletes with disabilities to attend the Little Athletics National under-15 camp held at the Australian Institute of Sport earlier this month.
The five-day camp was the result of a Coles initiative to donate 10 cents from every kilogram of bananas sold at its supermarkets on National Banana Day in May.
Chandelle was invited to attend the camp after impressing in shot put and discus at Little Athletics NSW state events for the past few seasons.
The 15-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, got to hone her skills from 2018 Commonwealth Games F38 shot put gold medallist Cameron Crombie.
Chandelle Falls (centre) with Paralympians Michael Roeger (left) and Sarah Walsh (right).
“The camp was an amazing experience. It was so great to work one-on-one with Cameron Crombie who’s a classification above me in my event. I was able to learn so much from him,” she said.
Paralympians Michael Roeger and Sarah Walsh were also on hand to mentor the aspiring athletes.
“Camps like these can be the catalyst for talented athletes like Chandelle to pursue their athletics dreams and the experience and learning will last a lifetime,” Michael said.
Chandelle is entering her fourth season at Greystanes Little Athletics Centre after joining with her sisters Chaela-Lee, 13 and Chelsea, 9.
She recently won a silver medal in the shot put at the NSW All Schools Championships and will compete at the nationals in December at Perth.
Mum Michelle said athletics has brought Chandelle “out of her shell.”
“Athletics is the best thing we could have done for her. She has improved her social interaction with people. She was very shy but now she will talk to other people and help other kids,” she said.