Guy Harrison almost lost his life when he was three years old. The Napier Boys’ High School student reflects on what he has been told about his near death experience.
“I had a seizure and my Mum and Dad rushed me to hospital. In the car I stopped breathing. Dad had to rush me inside and I was revived. This brain damage left me with cerebral palsy. Everyday normal stuff like walking around is tough, but I get by,” Harrison says.
This year Harrison won the Disabled Sportsman of the year award at the SBS Bank Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools sports awards. Harrison is the quickest T35 800/1500m runner in New Zealand.
The T35 category is for the most severe of cerebral palsy suffers. Harrison’s quickest time for the 800m is 2.49.64 at the Hastings athletics club in 2015 while he ran a 5:52.36 in the 1500m in Palmerston North in January. “I started running when I was nine. I have always been a competitive person so I thought it would be fun. When I started having some success I dreamed of going to the Paralympics,” he enthuses.
Unfortunately the T35 category doesn’t have the 800 or 1500m at the Olympics and sprinting is not an option so Harrison is hoping a middle distance event will be added in the very near future. He is also looking at triathlons and competed in this at the Junior Disability games. “I have had a bit of success in triathlons. My enthusiasm for the sport is growing,” he insists.
Harrison’s original sporting passion was golf. His father encouraged him to play when he was five and he has reduced his handicap to a respectable 11. He has won the Ames Games in Tauranga and in 2013 won the Junior Tiger event in the Hawke’s Bay which earned him a passage to the Nationals.
“Golf is my first love, but I really enjoy athletics too. Dad got me into golf and I play for the school and also represent Hawkes Bay,” Harrison says.
Harrison has shot a 74 and is a regular at the Napier Golf Club. He is coached in athletics by Mick Cull, a long-time stalwart, who has just retired and Laura Langley a NZ race walker has now taken over. His favourite athletes are Usain Bolt and Rory McIlroy.
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