Proud Aussie’s per­fect move

North Coast Times - - NEWS - Sara Fitz­patrick

OLYMPIAN Deb­o­rah Tsai had a hur­dle to over­come be­fore per­fect­ing her sport of syn­chro­nised swimming.

She was, she said, a dread­ful swim­mer.

“My par­ents got me into ‘syn­chro’ be­cause they thought I was go­ing to break my neck do­ing gym­nas­tics,” Ms Tsai said.

“I don’t think they con­sid­ered the fact that I was re­ally bad at swimming – but once we got past that, it was good.”

The 22-year-old ath­lete is one of 27 Aus­tralia Day Am­bas­sadors cho­sen by Aus­tralia Day WA to rep­re­sent her coun­try.

On Jan­uary 26, Ms Tsai will take part in City of Cock­burn cel­e­bra­tions at Coogee Beach, hon­our­ing the day and pro­mot­ing her beloved sport.

“Our team came eighth over­all at the Rio Games. For us, it wasn’t about win­ning medals – we’re not re­ally ‘up there’ in the world – it was more about go­ing with a good team and pro­duc­ing the best swims we could at that point in time and I think we achieved that goal,” Ms Tsai said.

“As am­bas­sador, a big mes­sage I want to con­vey is, medals or no medals, we were all re­ally proud to be Aus­tralian and to rep­re­sent our coun­try.”

Ms Tsai was also keen to talk about fund­ing is­sues af­fect­ing her sport.

“One huge chal­lenge we have had over the years is that we are an un­funded Olympic sport, which means we pay our own way to the Games,” she said.

“So if you want to look for a sport where peo­ple are purely do­ing it for the pas­sion, that’s our sport.”

Born in Sin­ga­pore, Ms Tsai mi­grated to Perth in 2009 and be­came an Aus­tralian cit­i­zen to com­pete for the coun­try.

“It was a trade-off for me be­cause I had to give up my Sin­ga­porean cit­i­zen­ship – I couldn’t have dual cit­i­zen­ship,” she said.

“I came to Aus­tralia when I was 15, so I fin­ished high school here and have lots of good mates, I have made my life here and I’m re­ally more Aus­tralian than any­thing else.”

Each year, Aus­tralia Day WA in­vites com­mu­nity members to be­come am­bas­sadors. They are se­lected in recog­ni­tion of their achieve­ments and val­ues.

Pic­ture: Andrew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d464092

Aus­tralia Day Am­bas­sador Deb­o­rah Tsai will take part in the City of Cock­burn’s cel­e­bra­tions.

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