The sound barrier
WHEN Tylar Barry travelled to Darwin for the Interstate Athletics Championship last week, he was hoping to perform his best and be competitive against some of the best athletes in Australia.
The South Grafton Primary student never believed he would come home with three gold and two silver medals.
Barry, 12, competed as part of the New South Wales Primary School Sports Association team for Athletes With Disabilities.
The AWD competitors all have different ability ratings and compete under the same rules as Australia's Paralympians.
Barry is half-deaf and suffers the worst conductive hearing loss possible without complete hearing loss.
The year six student wears his multi-coloured hearing aid as proudly as the collection of friendship pins from the various other states arranged on his cap.
"It was great, I won gold medals in the 800 metres, long jump and 4x100 metre relay, and got silver medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre sprints.
"I think my best event in Darwin was the 800m, because I ran a personal best time of three minutes and seven seconds."
Barry smashed 12 seconds from his previous best time over 800m before enduring a nervous wait to see how his performance stacked up against the other athletes who finished behind him, but may have had higher disability classifications.
"Each competitor would have a different classification for their various disabilities," Tylar's mum, Louise, said.
"He was competing against kids with intellectual disabilities, as well as people who were amputees or had other physical problems.
"Even though he might hit the line first, it's possible that another athlete's time and classification bonus might be superior."
But there were no such worries for Barry, who streeted his opposition in the 40-degree heat to claim the individual 800m and long jump events, and prove the crucial anchor in the 4x100m relay.
"I'd like to say thanks to everyone in Grafton who helped me get to Darwin, a lot of people bought raffle tickets and donated money to help mum and dad pay for the trip," Barry said.
Tylar's brothers, Jordan (4) and Bradan (10), joined mum and dad for the trip away and it won't be the last time the family is packed up for a sporting adventure.
Barry is eyeing off a start at the schools sports carnival at Homebush, Sydney next month, and the Deaf Games at Geelong, Victoria, next January.