Nate Castelli doesn't let his disability hold him back from achieving what he wants out of life.
The Lake Cathie resident, represented Port Macquarie Little Athletics and recently claimed five medals for NSW at the Little Athletics Championships.
The event was at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium on April 23 and April 24.
Nate was one of 10 young para-athletes who made history by being the first group of athletes to compete in the multi-class category of the Championships.
The Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus student took home medals in each of the five events he competed in, finishing with a bag of one gold (shot put), three silvers (long jump, 100m and 200m) and a bronze (discus), as well as three personal bests.
Nate's dad Hugh Castelli said it was hard to put into words just how proud he was of his son.
Nate has ataxic cerebral palsy and competes in the T/F36 classification.
Hugh said he has to work harder than able-bodied children to achieve his athletic goals.
"He's had challenges which other children take for granted," he said.
"Nothing comes easily to him and he has to work for all of it.
"To see him get this far - it's amazing."
Hugh said Nate has been taught to not let his disability to define him.
"It's not what you can't do, it's about showing everyone what you can."
Hugh said stretching is a necessity for Nate, to alleviate pain which he feels at the end of a big event day.
"He can go and do something now, but he could be in a world of pain tomorrow," he said.
However, Nate keeps going to Little Athletics because it makes him happy.
"He's been doing Little Athletics for three years and he loves it," Hugh said.
"When he stops smiling, that's when we'll stop."
Hugh said it was great to be part of an event where all athletes were on an even playing field.
"The Australian Little Athletics Championships was Nate's first national event and the camaraderie across all competitors and acceptance of all athletes was a real highlight," he said.
Nate was one of 48 Under 13 and Under 15 athletes chosen to represent NSW at the national event, which was held for the first time in three years due to COVID restrictions.
The team finished with a total of 39 medals (11 gold, 14 silver, 14 bronze) across the two days.
Nate has also competed at state level in swimming.
His role models include Port Macquarie Ironman Bennett Powell and Paralympian Ryley Batt.
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