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Dufferin Para Athlete seeks sponors for nationals

January 19, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

Shelburne area teen, 17 year old Daniel Mustapha is proud to have earned the opportunity to represent Ontario in a bid to win a spot on the National Karate team for Para Athletes. Daniel will travel to the Canadian Nationals in Halifax, in early March and is hoping for sponsors to help him get there.

Karate translated to English, means “empty handed,” says Daniel Mustapha, “The type of style of karate that I practice is called Goju- Ryu which means hard soft style.” The intricate and intensive sport requires a grace and focus that presents additional challenges for para athletics such as Daniel who lives with cerebral palsy.

Despite his challenges, it is easy to see that Daniel is as athletically inclined as his twin Nicholas and younger brother Mateo. “I started the sport in 2005, when I was 5 years old,” says Daniel. “I have worked hard for thirteen years to get where I am. I have good parents and good instructors that help me along the way.”

The teenager trains at the Orangeville Dojo, opened by Sensei Angelo in 2005 followed by another dojo in Shelburne in 2015. Both Dojos have traditional Goju- Ru classes as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. His coach, Sensei or teacher is Angelo Panousssis, the founder of both Shelburne and Orangeville Dojos. He is skilled in traditional Goju-Ryu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and currently holds a 5th Dan in Goju-Ryu Karate,  as well as a 1st degree in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Daniel says that one of the things that appeals to him about the sport is the community and the many opportunities that come with being a karate practitioner. “Not only is a tournament about competing,” says Daniel, “buts it’s about making friends, having fun and learning new things along the way, as well as showcasing your awesome talent. Whether you are doing sport or doing traditional Goju-Ryu, there will always be a karate community, ready to cheer you on.”

He says, “Karate has taught me honesty, integrity, loyalty, time, patience and focus. To be honest some of these I am still working on today, but nevertheless I am making progress on it.”

Like his brothers, Daniel has been home schooled most of his life and says it has played a instrumental role in his development in karate and as an artist with a goal to one day work in Animation. “It is because of home schooling that I have become better at karate,” he says. “Home schooling allows me to be flexible with my schedule, so that I can focus on school and karate at the same time.”

When Daniel was 12, he took a break from competing in karate. It wasn’t until 2016 that he started re-entering competitions with the Ontario Karate Federation (OKF). “After a couple of OKF tournaments I found out about the Para athlete division and quickly enlisted. The rest, you can say, is history.” Daniel beat the World Karate Champion in the Para Athlete Division, Patricia Wright, in November of 2017, in Markham. “She had an amazing kata (routine) and I am very thankful for the opportunity to compete with her.”

Right now, Daniel is training hard and winning medals, but he has no sponsorship other than his parents to reach his goals of representing Dufferin, Ontario and ultimately Canada in the sport. It is hoped that sponsors will step forward for the para athlete to help cover the expensive cost of traveling, food, accommodations and equipment.

Daniel’s first goal is to win at Nationals then the Worlds, and eventually work up to the Paralympics in either 2020 or 2024.  “Another goal of mine is to motivate people like myself, with cerebral palsy, downs’ syndrome or any other disability to try sports and excel at life. That is one of my ultimate goals, to inspire others and make a difference in the world.” Interested sponsors can help Daniel Mustapha reach for the Paralympics at 519-925-2742 or email: gracielamustapha@yahoo.com.

         

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