Building confidence with sport1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
For Year 7 Marcellin College pupil, Blessing Mata, listening to his mother has proved to be a route to success and lots of fun.
Blessing has CIDP (Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy) which is a rare autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own tissues. It affects the nervous system and as a result his balance, ability to walk and reflexes are badly affected.
In an effort to help him cope with his condition, his mum signed him up to attend a Parafed Auckland sports event in 2020. Blessing says at first he was not that keen, but she talked him into giving it a go and he loved it. “It was the best three days of my life,” he says.
Blessing went on to compete in the Halberg Games last year where he was named MVP for wheelchair rugby, won discus and shotput competitions and came second in the 50m sprint. He also received the Parafed Auckland Youth Award for 2021.
He says that in addition to winning awards, the regular exercise has helped him gain more control of his body and be more active. This has in turn boosted his confidence and he is enjoying life more.
Blessing says wheelchair rugby is probably his favourite sport as it is a rugged game and he enjoys being able to crash into the other players. But he also likes to try all the sports and says he plays “whatever comes along.”
He is part of a regular after–school programme and competes every weekend in Parafed Auckland competitions. His next big event was going to be this year’s now-cancelled Halberg Games in April, although there is some hope they will be held in November. In the meantime, Blessing will keep training, playing and having fun.