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Small B.C. athlete wins big at 2023 World Dwarf Games

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DUNCAN, B.C. -

Although she had no doubt her baby was perfect, Tammy Isaachsen did wonder how it would be for her boy to grow up with dwarfism.

“He’s living in a world not quite built for him,” Tammy says.

But her now 11-year-old son — Declan Forcier — calmed his mom’s concerns at an early age, thanks to an innate confidence.

“He has no hesitation to try anything new,” Tammy smiles.

Like when the then five-year-old wanted to learn how to play baseball, Declan started practicing with his friends, and eventually helped his team win big.

“It’s fun and exciting,” Declan says.

It feels the same way when he proves that average height hockey players can’t stop him from scoring on the ice.

“To be able to see him fit in and excel,” Tammy smiles, “has just exceeded any expectations or thoughts I had about the future.”

But Tammy never imagined that Declan’s athletic abilities would eventually qualify him for Team Canada to compete at the 2023 World Dwarf Games in Germany.

“When I heard about it,” Declan says, “I wanted to go.”

But Declan faced a major challenge.

“There was no hockey or baseball at the World Dwarf Games,” Declan says.

The 11-year-old wouldn’t be able to do what he was best at. And because Declan was the only athlete from B.C., he wouldn’t be able to train with his 46 other teammates, who were mostly from central Canada, before competing on the word stage.

“I was nervous,” Declan admits, before breaking into a big smile. “And excited.”

And by the time he saw that all the youth and adult athletes in Germany were the same stature, Declan felt what he’d never felt before.

“To be there and not be in the minority,” Tammy says, “is such a great feeling for him.”

Declan tackled a series of solo track and field events, before playing a trio of team sports: soccer, volleyball and baseball.

“Competing at eye-level was just awesome for him,” Tammy says, adding it was the first time Declan has been face to face with his fellow athletes.

But nothing compared to placing on the podium. Declan won seven medals, including four gold for track.

“He’s a world champion,” Tammy smiles. “It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around.”

While Declan says he’s proud of his accomplishments, and hoping to compete at the World Dwarf Games in Australia in four years, he humbly says there's nothing stopping any of us from achieving our goals, if we can just get out there and do it.

“[Just] compete,” Declan says. “And play hard!”

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