Selection caps a winning year

Emma Paton is looking forward to the Deaflympics summer games in Taipei next year.
Emma Paton is looking forward to the Deaflympics summer games in Taipei next year.
It has been a big year for Waitaki Girls High School pupil Emma Paton.

The 17-year-old, who has been selected in the New Zealand team to play table tennis at the Deaflympics summer games in Taipei in September next year, also won a trophy at the Aoraki Secondary Schools sports awards for female athlete with a disability for the second consecutive year.

She was also awarded the Makere Mason Memorial Trophy from the New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children, a year 11 academic excellence award for a deaf or hearing-impaired child in a mainstream school.

The bubbly teenager, who was born profoundly deaf in both ears, was excited about the trip to Taiwan and the chance to meet other deaf young people.

"It's going to be very interesting," she said.

Emma, who also plays cricket and football and is a keen swimmer, hopes an American friend will be selected in the United States football team for the games.

She met her several years ago in the US in a shopping mall, when her family noticed Emma had a speech processor, and they have kept in touch.

It was a "big surprise" to discover she had been selected and it meant she had achieved one of her goals, which was to compete in the games.

She wanted to enjoy herself and do her best, she said.

Emma first tried table tennis while a pupil at Oamaru Intermediate School and she "loved it". She is a member of the senior table tennis team at Waitaki Girls.

She has been invited to join the Otago women's cricket development team at a tournament at Lincoln this week.

She was grateful for the opportunities she had been given by North Otago Cricket and Otago Cricket.

Emma said she tried to keep a balance between school and sport. Her mother, Dale, said her daughter was good with her time management.


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