Comm Games shock: 'Calculated' theft from Coast Paralympian
FORMER Paralympian Marayke Jonkers has been robbed in broad daylight by an opportunistic thief stealing her mobile phone off her lap at the Commonwealth Games.
Marayke was in the process of embracing fellow athlete Sara Tait who'd just completed a para-triathlon.
In the gap between the embrace and the medal ceremony, the phone was sitting on her lap and the thief quickly pounced.
Attempts to track down the phone via GPS proved futile as its location was switched off.
Marayke, who became a paraplegic as a three-year-old, relies on her smart phone for everyday life and her charity, Sporting Dreams.
Mum Marion said she felt sick contemplating who could pull off such a low act on anyone, particularly such a dedicated and generous athlete.
"The phone is her lifeline. We are very sad and shocked that people are prepared to steal adapted technology," Marion said.
"It is the calculated part that is so hard to come to terms with.
"Marayke can't type so everything on the phone is designed to work from Siri, it is such an important tool of communication.
"It is her security blanket, and now a huge headache."
Former world record holder Marayke was quite saddened by the theft, and the thought of going home crossed her mind.
Her iPhone is also her networking tool to connect and support athletes. That communication tool is lost.
"She joked about going home, she won't be. It spoils her purpose of being here," Marion said.
"With what she does through Sporting Dreams, she can't directly contact athletes straight after they've competed.
"It isn't as simple as just buying a new phone either."
It takes six months to correct and retrain Marayke's voice activation device, the adaptive technology is tailor made for her voice.
Despite Marayke's reluctance, a GoFundMe page has been set up for replace her iPhone. The remaining proceeds donated will go directly to Sporting Dreams.