New York resident, Ming Davis, recalls his first track and field event ahead of the 2018 IWAS Junior World Games
Run as fast as you can!
Sound advice from a track and field event volunteer that served Ming Davis well during his first-ever track and field event. He came away with three gold medals.
“My parents signed me up for track and field in 2012,” says Davis. “Prior to that I had no clue what track and field was even about. I was registered for three events – shot put, 100m and 200m. I had no idea what to do so I asked one of the volunteers and was told, ‘run as fast as you can.’ So I did, and by the end of the day, I came in first-place.”
Now, six-years later, the 18-year-old Davis is set to join Team USA in Ireland as they compete at the 2018 IWAS Junior World Games.
Davis was born without a left arm and spent much of his young life in a Chinese orphanage where he was bullied, abused and socially unaccepted. When he was 8-years-old he was adopted by an American family and brought to the United States. That one compassionate act was the turning point from a life of despair to a life of promise.
“My adoptive parents are nothing short of amazing,” says Davis. “When I was adopted, my parents were given a long list of things they would need to chance to accommodate how I would live my life. As it turned out, the only changes they made to accommodate my life was moving my bicycle hand brake to the right and adding a knob to the steering wheel of the car.”
For Davis, this was a second chance for him to discover his purpose. He would be free to follow his dreams, and with the help of his new family’s encouragement and guidance, he did just that. Davis uses those dark memories from the days at the orphanage as a self-motivation tool to help keep him focused on his current goals and day-to-day life.
“One day you remember that you’re in China, then the next day, you’re in America,” recalls Davis. “Frankly, I’m blessed beyond belief for being adopted by this wonderful family. They’ve been everything a kid could ask for in adoptive parents. They’ve given me opportunities that I never thought I would have if I had not been adopted.”
Davis has two older brothers whom are still in China. The Davis’ later discovered that the adoption agency neglected to say Ming had any birth siblings. Today, he lives in New Rochelle, N.Y. with his adopted sister.
Throughout the years, Davis competed in a variety of track meets and even gave soccer a try since it was a sport the players use their feet in. But Davis only played one season because he refused to play any position but goalie. He wanted a sport where he could use his hand.
It wasn’t until a track and field event at the ESPN World of Sports that he discovered his love of javelin and it was there that he was officially introduced into the sport.
“That was my first-ever huge track meet,” says Davis. “All this was through and against able-bodied athletes and I never had a mindset of, ‘I can’t do this.’ That’s just not my personality.”
Of the top eight athletes, Davis took third-place.
Davis recalls how challenging competing in sports was for him. Always having to prove his merit, being picked last and being judged by his outward appearance. But usually more times than not, at the end of the day, he had earned their respect as an athlete and some kids would even come to say they’re sorry.
“They judged me by my looks instead of what I could do on or off the field,” says Davis. “I use the motivations from the kids who didn’t accept me for who I am or what I can do at first and put it into when I throw javelin or when I run. I’ll go back and think about what happened to me and use that as my strength to run as fast as I can or keep focused on my throwing.”
Faith in God
For Davis, the biggest thing that’s been helpful in his life has been his Catholic faith. He is a big believer of a higher power because of the many opportunities he’s had to compete in track and field.
“These are all opportunities that many kids wished they had and I’m so fortunate to have them and use my failures as strengths to always do my best as an athlete,” he says.
Davis lives by one moto and it’s, there is a God, and I’m not Him. He first heard it in the 1993 TriStar release, “Rudy.”
“I use it as a motivational tool to help remind myself that everything that’s given to you, your abilities, your talent is through God,” says Davis. “And the way you can thank Him for that is by being the best athlete that you can be and remember who gave you the opportunities to do so.”
Competing with Team USA
“It’s a blessing and honor to be representing the United States,” says Davis. “I have the chance to show what our country is all about. It’s about sportsmanship. It’s about showing the world you can compete in peace and show good sportsmanship.”
Good sportsmanship is not lost on Davis, who before each race, takes the time to greet his opponents.
“I always say good luck to them,” says Davis. “You build friendships with your opponents but once it comes down to competing you obviously want to win, and you have to stay focused.”
Davis will be competing in his first IWAS Junior World Games.
Davis was recently accepted to Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina and was offered a track and field scholarship ultimately competing with and against able-bodied athletes. He plans to major in sports management and minor in entrepreneurship.
Run as fast as you can, Ming. We’ll be watching.