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Wharton senior writes her way to Beijing

Sarah Goldman, 16, will be the only contestant from Florida.

Special to the Times

Sarah Goldman, 16, will be the only contestant from Florida.

ARBOR GREENE — A Wharton High School senior has been chosen to participate in the 2008 International Paralympic Academy in September in Beijing.

Sarah Goldman of Arbor Greene will attend along with Hillsborough County BlazeSports coordinator Andy Chasanoff.

Sarah, 16, is among 35 physically disabled student-athletes nationwide selected by winning an essay contest that focused on how sports activities for the disabled affected their lives.

"I included how disabled sports has impacted my life and what it means to me,'' she said of her essay. "Adaptive sports has given me a sense of self-confidence I never had before. I've met so many incredible people through BlazeSports."

She's the only contestant from Florida, she said, and U.S. Paralympics is paying for the entire trip.

"I was speechless when they told me I won,'' she said. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime, going to China and experiencing something like this at my age."

Sarah, who has had cerebral palsy since birth, participates on BlazeSports teams in tennis, track and field, soccer and swimming. More than 200 disabled athletes train and compete in the program.

Sarah's family, additionally, is organizing a Challenger Division of Little League Baseball in New Tampa.

What would she tell people with disabilities?

"I've learned never to give up. You have to believe that everything happens for a reason and keep moving forward."

Wharton senior writes her way to Beijing 07/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2008 9:10am]
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