Awards cap off outstanding year for Karlee

KARLEE Symonds can often be seen having fun with her friends on the basketball courts at North Nowra Public School, but athletics is what the 11-year-old is truly passionate about. 

Training up to four times a week at Willandra and Nowra Showground has made 2013 a very impressive year, with one success after another. 

She has been racking up some frequent flyer points with all of her travelling to events, like the National Cross Country Championships in Tasmania and the National Track and Field Championships in Brisbane. 

This has seen her faced with all sorts of conditions, like the sweltering heat in Brisbane, while she had to battle on in the cold and the mud in Tasmania. 

Some of the highlights have been going to Dreamworld when they were in Brisbane, holding a sea horse in Tasmania and meeting pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons at the South Coast School Sports Association presentation at the Illawarra Turf Club last week. 

At the presentation, Karlee was the first recipient of the Most Outstanding AWS Athlete in Primary Schools, which she said was a very good feeling. 

As Karlee is vision impaired, she runs all her races with school learning support officer Sandra Coyte as her guide and they have a great understanding, most of the time. 

“I love running with her, except when she splashes me,” Karlee said.  

“She normally helps me out, but I do a lot of the talking and she’s busy huffing and puffing, very loudly,” she added. 

Karlee likes to take control when they are competing, but said Sandra is normally in charge when they are training. 

It looks like their arrangement is working well, with Karlee recently breaking the national record in the 800 metres for athletes with disability and is hoping her recent success will help her to one day fulfill her dream of going to the Olympics. 

Karlee said she wanted to thank all the businesses who have helped her travel as well as her family and friends for all their support.

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