Husband and wife set to battle it out against each other in upcoming World Dwarf Games

Leah Balaberda in action in women's football
Leah Balaberda in action in women's football
0
Have your say

A Sheffield athlete will do battle with her husband as they compete for different countries in the upcoming World Dwarf Games.

Leah Balaberda will line up for Great Britain in the seventh edition of the games in Guelph, Canada next month.

Carter Balaberda will line up against his wife Leah at the World Dwarf Games in Canada in August

Carter Balaberda will line up against his wife Leah at the World Dwarf Games in Canada in August

Leah, 26, will compete in the 100m sprint, 4x100m relay, discus, shotput and football.

Her husband, Carter Balaberda, will compete for Canada in the powerlifting, football, hockey and basketball.

They will meet on opposite sides of the net in the badminton, and the Balaberdas will also face off in the boccia.

The prospect of sporting battle is firing up the couple's intense, but ultimately friendly, rivalry.

Carter and Leah Balaberda on their wedding day at Woodhouse

Carter and Leah Balaberda on their wedding day at Woodhouse

Leah was quick to point out who she thought would get the better of the other one.

"Me," Leah said, without hesitation.

Carter, 25, said he wasn't so sure.

"What's a guy to do," he said.

"Do you let your wife win, or do you try hard to beat her."

The pair met in California in 2011 at a dwarf convention, and it was 'love at first sight', according to Leah.

They were married two years ago at St James Church, Woodhouse, and renewed their vows in Florida last year so Leah could have her dream beach wedding.

They will bring their medals back to Meetinghouse Lane, Sheffield, where the pair have just bought a house together.

Carter has moved to the steel city from Regina, Canada, to live with his wife.

He hopes to secure British citizenship to stay in the country with his bride.

The couple will get straight into serious business the week after they return from Canada.

They're back on Sunday, August 18. The next Friday, they have an appointment for Carter to extend his spousal visa.

"We'll be looking for an extension," he said.

The long process has been tough on the couple, but Leah said it was worthwhile.

"Yes it's been a difficult process but when you're in love you make it work, and you fight to be together," she said.

She's the same height as an average seven-year-old, but Leah's achievements on the sporting field defy her small stature.

She had a double delight at the last games in Michigan, USA, in 2013.

Leah won gold in the football and bronze in the 4x100m relay.

Her haul from Michigan took Leah's tally to almost 30 medals since she began competing in 2009.

Carter has plenty of medals of his own.

He hopes to win more at the games in his homeland.

His mother, step father and 'little big brother', who stands at well over six feet tall, there to cheer him on.

They will make the three-hour flight from Regina to Toronto.

Leah has plenty of confidence ahead of her games tilt.

She's confident the long hours put in at the gym - her and Carter train four times per week - will pay off and allow her to add to her baggage with some medals when she returns.

She is most looking forward to the track.

"That's where I'm more of a good chance," Leah said.

"But I think I'll get a medal in all of them."

While Carter has Paralympic ambitions, Leah said she wasn't sure where the future would take her on the sporting field.

Leah said starting a family could put her athletic career on the sideline.

"It depends on what happens," she said.

The event is the largest sporting event held exclusively for athletes with dwarfism.

Athletes will come from all over the world to compete.

The couple has started a Just GIving page to get them to Canada for the games.

Click here to donate.