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AITCHISON Danielle
Sport Para athletics
NPC New Zealand   
GenderWomen
Age19
Place of BirthMorrinsville, NZL
Height1.74 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T36, F36
Further Personal Information
Residence
Hamilton, NZL
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Social and Behavioral Science - University of Waikato: Hamilton, NZL
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began competing in Para athletics at age 16 in 2017, at the Halberg Junior Disability Games in New Zealand.
Why this sport?
She comes from an enthusiastic sporting family that always supported her to do physical activities. "I did ballet and played netball and hockey. I also tried athletics, where I sprinted alongside the able-bodied kids at the Te Aroha club [New Zealand]. I played hockey for the school team and I enjoyed it but I found playing a team sport tough because of my lack of hearing." In 2017 she took part in badminton, swimming, triathlon and athletics at the Halberg Junior Disability Games in Auckland, New Zealand, and after realising she had a talent in athletics, she went on to compete at other events and began training for international competitions. "At the Halberg Disability Games I took part in athletics and afterwards a coach came up to me and said I had talent and should pursue it."
Club / Team
Hamilton City Hawks: New Zealand
Name of coach
Alan MacDonald [personal], from 2018
Training Regime
Regular pain in her muscles mean she is restricted to train two weekly sessions on the track. This condition pushed her and her coach, Alan MacDonald, to adopt a different focus on training. "Many other athletes train every day to improve and I can't do that, so we've taken a different approach. Alan intends to target quality over quantity and he often says once you lose that quality there is not much point in training anymore. We just do what is needed." She also does one strength and conditioning session a week.
Senior International Debut
Year
2019
Competing for
New Zealand
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Dubai, UAE
General Interest
Nicknames
Dani (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; Instagram profile, 14 May 2020)
Hobbies
Reading, swimming. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; Paralympics New Zealand YouTube channel, 20 May 2020)
Most influential person in career
Her mother Tracy. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
New Zealand sprinter Zoe Hobbs. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Focus only on yourself, you can only control what you do." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Awards and honours
In 2018 she was named Best Female Para Athlete at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletic Association [NZSSAA] track, road and field championships. (NZ Paralympic Team Twitter page, 05 Dec 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Impairment
She was born with severe jaundice, cerebral palsy and 80-90% hearing loss. (stuff.co.nz, 05 Feb 2018)
Other information
HEARING CHALLENGES
She was born with around 10% hearing. She has had cochlear implants in both ears, but still faces challenges in competition. "I have had to re-train myself to hear again since getting the cochlear implants. I struggle to hear the loudspeaker at events and it is also sometimes hard for me to hear the starting instructions, so that is why I ask for an assistant. If I do not do what I am supposed to, the assistant will tap me. Also my reaction time isn't that good, because it takes me a long time to hear the gun." (athletics.org.nz, 06 Jun 2019)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
2 2019 200m T36 29.86
4 2019 100m T36 14.60