A freshman wrestler competing for her school is overcoming all sorts of challenges to find success in a sport she loves.
14-year-old Goddess Ma’alona-Faletogo is competing in the 225-pound weight class for her school.
“I started wrestling in 6th grade,” she said. “It was hard. I had to get used to all of the conditioning. It was stuff I later learned to love.”
Goddess isn’t just competing, though. She’s winning. She punched her ticket to the state tournament after finishing the regular season with a 17-9 record.
Since she’s blind, she attributes her success to her keen sense of touch and her athletic ability.
“I try to feel for whatever angle is open,” she said. “I try to figure out what side they are not watching. Say I’m standing in front of them and my hands are on their shoulders and they are angled out more to the right, I’ll sneak around to their left to get behind them.”
She relies on different sensations when competing but also getting through everyday life. Goddess has Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a rare sight disorder preventing Goddess from being able to see.
“When I was little I seen it as a disadvantage cause I always wanted to go outside and play by myself,” she said. “It was kind of embarrassing having my little brothers having to look after me because I couldn’t see, but now I look at it as motivation as I can’t see but I can still do what I want to do cause it’s not going to stop me.”
A belief her family instills in her.
“We try and build her confidence and let her know that it doesn’t matter,” her mother said. “You know there are people who don’t have arms, who can do better things than people who do have arms, you know. So here you are with no vision and look what you are today.”
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