This week, Damon Vasterink will make his way to Veracruz for the World Para-Taekwondo Championships after being selected to represent Australia in Poomsae.
Vasterink, a member of Koryo Taekwondo Centre in the regional Victorian town of Shepparton, has never allowed his disability to hinder him from participating in Taekwondo.
Undefeated in all state and national competitions since bursting onto the scene in 2018, Vasterink now has his eyes firmly set on the world stage.
Coached by club owner Sammy Rachele, Vasterink is one of his standout students who, earlier this year, attended the Virtus Global Games in France.
"I believe he will be a world champion with determination and passion," said long-time coach Sammy Rachele.
With the Para-Taekwondo Championships calling, the team at Koryo Taekwondo Centre have been doing what they can to support Vasterink, with the club setting up a gofundme page.
Rachele met Vasterink back in 2007 when he started his martial arts journey as a student at Verney Road School and says he has experienced life-changing moments at his wing.
From his first competitive round at the TVI Winter Invitational back in 2018 to being at the helm of competing internationally, Rachele's dedication as a coach has been unwavering, and his belief in Vasterink is simply inspiring.
"I love Damon; he is such a big part of my life, and I will continue to help all people with disabilities strive to fulfil their dreams, even if I have to pay for it out of my pocket."
"People with intellectual disabilities are so disadvantaged, and it's up to everyone more fortunate in this world to help."
To compete in Para Taekwondo, an athlete must undergo a classification assessment. However, classification is not required for recreation or social involvement in Para-Taekwondo.
Over the last 12 months, Australian Taekwondo has invested in showcasing Para-Taekwondo as an inclusive sport and recreation option for people with a disability through its inclusion campaign.
To keep up-to-date with the World Para-Taekwondo Championships, please visit the World Para Taekwondo Facebook page.
Please join us in wishing Damon and Sammy all the very best for a successful World Para-Taekwondo Championships.