Par­a­lympian hopes to go out on a high

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

VIC­TO­RIA Park ath­lete Colin Har­ri­son was last week named in the 2016 Aus­tralian Par­a­lympic Sail­ing Team that will com­pete in Rio de Janeiro in Septem­ber.

It will be the fourth Par­a­lympic Games for 55-year-old Har­ri­son, who will com­pete in the three-per­son Sonar class with crew­mates Jonathan Har­ris and Rus­sell Boaden, as the sport makes its fi­nal planned ap­pear­ance in the Par­a­lympic pro­gram.

Cur­rently ranked as world num­ber one in their class, Har­ri­son is con­fi­dent the crew will im­prove on their six­th­place fin­ish in Lon­don.

“I’m aim­ing to achieve some­thing that I haven’t in my pre­vi­ous three Games, and that is a gold medal,” he said.

“We’ve just hit the num­ber one spot in the world, and I be­lieve we are well placed to pull off a podium fin­ish, with a goal of reach­ing the top spot. “It is still a bit unreal to be se­lected. “Any time we rep­re­sent Aus­tralia there is a real sense of ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion but for the Par­a­lympic Games, this feel­ing is so much big­ger.”

Har­ri­son said rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia at an elite level and reach­ing the pin­na­cle of his sport had been amaz­ing.

“The jour­ney of train­ing, com­pet­ing and rep­re­sent­ing at an in­ter­na­tional level is sur­real and I feel hon­oured and for­tu­nate to have been given the op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

Grow­ing up in the United King­dom, Har­ri­son be­gan sail­ing as a teenager.

After re­lo­cat­ing to Aus­tralia years later, Har­ri­son dis­cov­ered he had cancer in his right shoul­der, which led to his arm be­ing am­pu­tated.

Har­ri­son took up sail­ing once again and made his in­ter­na­tional de­but in Para-sail­ing.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to mas­ter­ing the con­di­tions.

“The en­vi­ron­ment in Ma­rina de Glo­ria is very unique; we haven’t en­coun­tered any­thing like it any­where else, and I’m look­ing for­ward to mas­ter­ing the con­di­tions so we can take gold,” said Har­ri­son.

With sail­ing not be­ing in­cluded in the Tokyo 2020 Par­a­lympic Games pro­gram, Har­ri­son says he has mixed feel­ings about his last op­por­tu­nity at com­pet­ing for Par­a­lympic glory.

“In a way it is sad be­cause the fu­ture of sail­ing at the Par­a­lympics is in doubt,” he said.

“We’d like to go out on a high. We have the strong­est team ever and have had mostly podium places since 2012, but we’re go­ing to make the most of it.”

Colin Har­ri­son with crew­mates Jonathan Har­ris and Stephen Churm com­pet­ing at the 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympics.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.