A SPORTS-MAD Dewsbury teenager’s dream of competing in the Deaflympics has been realised thanks to a generous donation.
Despite being born profoundly deaf, Jodie Ounsley has achieved success in rugby union, jiu jitsu, coal-carrying and athletics – and she was also a finalist in the 2016 Young Deaf Sports Personality of the Year competition.
The 16-year-old from Thornhill will now represent Great Britain in the 100m and 200m sprints at the 2017 Deaflympics in Turkey, thanks to a £1,740 donation from homebuilder Taylor Wimpey.
Jodie said: “Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics, the Deaflympics is completely self-funded, so athletes need to pay for everything from official kit to flights.
“Without the help of Taylor Wimpey, I would have been under immense pressure to raise the full amount myself, which would have detracted from my training. I am very grateful to the homebuilder for its help.” Jodie plays rugby at Sandal Girls RUFC, has played for Yorkshire under 18s and has been selected for England under 18s.
She has been crowned junior world coal-carrying champion at Gawthorpe four times, won five sprint titles at the Deaf Athletics Championship and also won gold at the British Open Brazilian jiu jitsu finals.
Anne Bagshaw, sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire, said: “Supporting local talent in our local communities is incredibly important to us, so we are delighted to be able to help Jodie achieve her sporting goals.
“Everyone here will be following Jodie’s career and we wish her every success in the Deaflympics.”
Alongside training for the Deaflympics, Jodie will also be sitting her GCSEs, ready to join the Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence rugby programme at Loughborough in September.
She added: “I have worked very hard to achieve my dreams and I hope my journey inspires other disabled women in sport.”