HAMILTON, Ohio — A teenage martial artist from Hamilton is hoping to make his mark and inspire others with disabilities as he goes out for the US Paralympic team.
Austin Osner, 15, is a Taekwondo champion who just placed third in an international competition. He started studying martial arts when he was younger to learn self-defense and for the discipline the sport provides. However, Osner tackles the sport differently than others.
Osner was born with part of his right arm missing caused by a condition called amniotic band syndrome. The condition hasn’t slowed him down though as he’s earned awards at the state, regional and national levels.
“When I first started getting used to fighting with one arm, I was fighting people with two arms and it never really bothered me,” he said.
Osner trains three hours a day, five days a week, while he takes classes online through the Ohio Virtual Academy. He said his goal is to compete at the Paralympics.
“Whether that be Paris in ’24 or Los Angeles in ’28,” Osner said. “If I could achieve that goal, I would be very happy with myself. I would be happy with all the work I’ve put in. That’s when I know everything I’ve done the past five years have truly meant so much.”
Now, Osner wants others with disabilities to know it’s possible to win at the elite level.
“People look at disabilities differently,” Osner said. “You know as long as you maintain a good mindset no one’s going to stop you at the end of the day.”