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Carr strives for greatness

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Gateshead athlete Blake Carr is determined to be a role model for other people with autism spectrum disorder.

“The way I see it is, I live in a town where there are a lot of sporting people and a lot of people look up to them as heroes in your Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets,” he says.

“I’m sort of becoming a hero in my own right in a different sport and, if people see me as that, then I’ll gladly accept it.”

Carr returned from the Australian National Championships at Olympic Park, Sydney, with three new personal bests (PBs).

He stretched his record from 5.35m to 5.38m in the long jump, raced across the line in 12.54 seconds in the 100m sprint, clocked 25.73 seconds in the 200m, and managed fourth overall in the discus with a best effort of 26.84m.

Carr was particularly driven to perform well at the national championships after a difficult period in his personal life.

His nan, whom he had lived with for most of his life and described as a “second mum”, sadly passed away from ovarian cancer before the event.

“I’ve had to deal with losing my nan a couple of weeks ago and there was a lot of pressure going into the nationals, but my coach reassured me and said don’t go out there for PBs or medals, just do it for nan,” he says.
“I felt, for the first time, the pressure coming off my shoulders because I wasn’t weighed down by expectation or anything.
“I think that was key to getting those PBs.”

Following his impressive results, Carr is now waiting to hear if he has qualified for the Australian squad that will compete in the Oceania Championships in Townsville in June.

However, he says financial difficulties may be a tough hurdle in the future.

Lake Macquarie Private Hospital assisted with his accommodation and travel costs for the nationals, but Carr says he is unsure how he will manage other event costs.

“I don’t get funding from Athletics Australia or anything, so the money comes from my end as well,” he says.
“With nan passing away, I don’t know what my financial pressures are going to be with rent, bills and so forth.
“If I do get support from other people and outlets, it’s greatly appreciated.”

Email [email protected] if you’d like to make contact.

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