Reflections on wa­ter

PAR­A­LYMPIAN WINS GOLD IN RIO

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au

VIC­TO­RIA Park res­i­dent Colin Har­ri­son has re­flected on a suc­cess­ful 2016, dur­ing which he won gold at the Par­a­lympics in Rio de Janeiro and was named as part of the Aus­tralian Par­a­lympic Team of the Year.

SAILOR Colin Har­ri­son be­lieves 2016 could not have gone any bet­ter.

Not only did the Vic­to­ria Park res­i­dent win gold at the Rio de Janeiro Par­a­lympics, he was also a part of the Par­a­lympic Team of the Year.

Mr Har­ri­son raced in the Sonar class with crew mates Jonathan Har­ris and Rus­sell Boaden and won the gold with a race to spare.

“It’s hard to be­lieve that the year is over; there is so much that has hap­pened this year from train­ing camps, to com­pet­ing at the Par­a­lympics,” he said.

“The ul­ti­mate goal was a gold so I don’t think things could have gone any bet­ter.

“There was a wake-up call dur­ing a com­pe­ti­tion in France when we fin­ished fourth so that was an op­por­tu­nity we missed out on.”

Mr Har­ri­son said the 2016 Aus­tralian Par­a­lympic Awards, which were held on De­cem­ber 8, was an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on the year.

“The sense of per­sonal achieve­ment was enor­mous, it’s hard to de­scribe in words,” he said.

“To be recog­nised as a team and the win the award was an hon­our. I’ve re­ally en­joyed com­pet­ing with the guys and I’ve got­ten to know them re­ally well.

Mr Har­ri­son’s right arm was am­pu­tated in 1987 when he was 28, to stop the spread of can­cer.

“It took me a few months to come to grips about what had hap­pened but about six months later I got back into sail­ing,” he said.

“The chal­lenge of com­pet­ing is sig­nif­i­cant, phys­i­cally you have to be pre­pared and you need men­tal tough­ness. I think com­pet­ing is the same for ev­ery­one, whether you are an Olympian or Par­a­lympian, you just try to do the best you can in your event.

“As a Par­a­lympian there are added chal­lenges whether you are in a wheel­chair or you have lim­ited abil­ity but it’s just an­other ob­sta­cle to over­come.”

Mr Har­ri­son said af­ter com­pet­ing in four Par­a­lympics his plans for the fu­ture in­cluded more teach­ing than com­pet­ing.

“Par­a­lympic sail­ing has not been in­cluded in the 2020 but I would not have gone any­way,” he said.

“I don’t have the de­sire to com­pete at this level again, I have other goals in terms of teach­ing oth­ers to share my love of the sport.”

Par­a­lympic gold medal win­ner Colin Har­ri­son.

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