A NSW primary school student will be the youngest athlete to compete for Australia in powerchair football.
Despite being only 12 years old, Ryan Seck will take to the field this October to represent Australia in the Asia-Pacific-Oceania Cup.
The Harrington Street Public School student is the youngest player in the Under 21s side, with many of his teammates in high school and university.
The competition will pit Ryan and his teammates against challengers from New Zealand and Japan.
While Ryan has played wheelchair football for 4 years, he has needed to borrow sports wheelchairs – specialist chairs with leg guards, harnesses and faster motors.
“The sport wheelchair I use, it’s lower, it’s faster and it’s more sensitive,” Ryan said.
The chairs are custom-made in the United States, and can often cost upwards of $25,000.
On Monday morning at a surprise school assembly, Fitzy and Wippa from Nova FM skyped into a school assembly and announced a gift of $30,000.
Nova’s generosity left Ryan’s family and many of his teachers in tears.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this support,” said Harrington Street Public School principal John Massard.
Before the announcement the school community had started a GoFundMe to support Ryan. This money, as well as funds collected at an upcoming fundraising dinner, will be put towards an educational trust for Ryan.
Watch Ryan’s story on the department’s Facebook page.