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Overcoming hurdles to win state athletics titles

CHAMPS: Panha Doung and Myles Gibson from Byron Bay Public School just back from the NSW State PSSA Athletics Carnival.
CHAMPS: Panha Doung and Myles Gibson from Byron Bay Public School just back from the NSW State PSSA Athletics Carnival. Christian Morrow

TWO young athletes from Byron Bay Public School are off to national competition later this year after wins at last week's NSW PSSA Athletics Carnival at Sydney's Olympic Park.

Thirteen-year-old Myles Gibson, competing in the Athlete With a Disability (AWD) category, claimed first in the 800m run and third in the discus throw.

His mother, Kylie Gibson, sent her thanks to the local community for their ongoing support of her son.

"He has been running since he was five years old and gets a lot of enjoyment out of it," Kylie said.

"It was Jack Phelps and Tracy Barnes at the school who first encouraged him to go in everything and it just took off from there. We are just so proud of him."

Panha Doung took out the 12-year-old boys' long jump title with a leap of 5.22m.

"After my first jump of 4.88 metres, I thought I had a chance of winning, but it took a while to sink in," Panha said.

Principal Geoff Spargo said the school was very proud of the boys' achievements

"They have both worked hard to get to that level and their dedication has paid off," he said.

"Panha arrived at the school four years ago from Cambodia without being able to speak English.

"His transition to life in Australia was difficult but he has worked hard in every aspect of his schooling.

"He is an excellent sportsman and a great role model for the other students."

Both boys are off to high school next year, with Myles keen to continue with his running. Panha hopes to eventually become a professional basketball player.

Topics:  athletics, community


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