KJ Dayal had no intentions of returning to school this year. He was restless and in purist of a new challenge.
KJ’s father Kieran disagreed with his decision to leave and so he dangled a carrot to keep KJ in school.
If KJ remained at Rongotai College he would shout his son tickets to the cricket World Cup final in Melbourne.
KJ stayed and saw New Zealand lose to Australia at the MCG in March. Suddenly he was rejuvenated and earlier this month he gained a special accolade. KJ was named College Sport Wellington disabled sportsperson of the year. He admits he wasn’t expecting to win the prize.
“It was totally surprising. I am real proud,” he says.
In fact KJ was so overwhelmed by his success he refused to allow his parents to attend the awards ceremony. He laughs the award rests in the dining room where, “everybody can see it.”
KJ suffers from DiGeorge syndrome, also called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. It’s a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22. It results in the poor development of several body systems. Several members of the Dayal family are suffers and KJ also has dyslexia. Speech is a challenge as are some intellectual purists.
Despite his disability KJ is the Wellington regional athletics champion for shot put and 100m in the athletes with a disability category. In March at Newtown Park KJ threw eight meters in the shot put which was nearly double his nearest opponent. (KJ with Rongotai College old boy and Hurricane Ardie Savea. George Jackson CSW cyclist of the year to Ardie’s right.)
He is a member of the Rongotai First XI cricket team. They only compete in Premier three, but KJ is unaware of any other cricketer that plays in a First XI with a similar disability than him.
“I haven’t come up against people like me and I don’t care. I love to compete with able-bodied players,” he insists.
KJ has a highest score of 30 and bowls medium pace. In the Term Three holidays Rongotai toured Australia.
“It was a fun tour. We played seven games and won two. It was good for development. We also went to Dreamworld,” KJ recalls.
He says his favourite cricketers are Chris Gayle and Brett Lee.
He is a goalkeeper for the third XI football team and has played rugby and hockey at Rongotai.
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