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Naomi knows no limits

When she's not offering support to students, TAFE Queensland Disability Study Coach Naomi Oliver doesn't simply rest - she's winning tennis tournaments.

During her day job, Naomi plays a vital role in helping students with disabilities with their studies by increasing their access and class participation to ensure they can successfully move to employment.

“I provide those students with notetaking support, assessment planning and research skills, time management skills and mentoring to ensure they can,” said Naomi.

When she’s not supporting students to achieve their study goals, she plays wheelchair tennis and recently won the Women’s Singles Championship at the Queensland Open International Tennis Federations Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.

“After playing socially for 10 years, I played my first actual tournament at the Australian National Championships in November of 2019 where I placed fourth.”

“In 2020 I played in the Brisbane Wheelchair Performance Series where I also came fourth, but both of these experiences hardened my desire to keep training and playing,” she explained.

Her perseverance and practice paid off, with her maiden tournament win coming at her third tournament, the Coolum Classic Wheelchair Tournament in October 2021, backed up the following week with her Qld Open win.

“The tournament wins were based on round-robin total matches won, and I had to dig deep and pull out all my tools mentally and physically to finish the Qld Open, despite having significant wrist pain.”

Following this impressive win, Naomi’s next goal is to compete at the Sydney Open ITF Futures Tournament in 2022.

Off the court, and when she’s not helping students, Naomi has many other irons in the fire.

In September 2019, Naomi completed a Certificate III in Education Support (CHC30213) to expand upon her current skills with a view of supporting students even further.

I wanted to expand my skills to progress into a student support teacher aide role within Queensland’s school system and help more students to reach their potential.”

And if Naomi isn’t working, studying or training and playing tennis, she donates her time to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research and other charities close to her heart.

“When I can, I participate in different challenges to raise funds for life-changing research into multiple sclerosis (MS), cancers and other important causes.”

For the past two years, Naomi has left her limits behind and participated in a the Kiss Goodbye to MS charity run where she raised funds to help accelerate research into multiple sclerosis by wheeling 50 kilometres (actually completing 100km in 2020) throughout the month of May.

“I have a number of close friends and family members whose lives are affected by MS”

“Sadly, MS is commonly diagnosed in the prime of life between just 20 - 40 years old and research is the key to changing the future of MS,” she explained.

With so much going on in her life, it would be reasonable to wonder if Naomi is doing too much, but she has a different perspective on how busy she is.

“I genuinely love doing what I do, both professionally and personally, and I think that’s the secret to making it work. Each day, I help others for work, I play tennis for fun and I really enjoy training, competing and winning tennis tournaments.”

“My advice? Find what you enjoy and set yourself challenges on what you like. Then, when you achieve what you set out to do, set a new challenge that’s higher than the last.”

“Then, put you best foot forward. Keep working, keep improving and keep achieving until you reach your potential – you might surprise yourself!” concluded Naomi.