Paralympic sailor dreams of gold
COLIN Harrison spends most of his days like any other local; hanging out with family and friends, hitting the water on a sunny day or working at the Fremantle Hospital.
But for two weeks every four years, Harrison transforms from an everyday Australian into a Paralympian gunning for gold.
Harrison was already in love with sailing, and had been since he was a teenager, when shoulder surgery revealed he had cancer.
After 18 months of treatment, he received the news he was going to lose his right arm.
“I was initially devastated but as time passes you realise that new or different opportunities come along for the taking,” he said.
“Sailing is one sport where people from all walks of life – young, old SUPPORTED BY ORANGE AUTOS differing abilities – can enjoy, so this was not the end of sailing for me.
“I didn't sail for several years, but it wasn’t long before the opportunity to sail keel boats came along.”
Named in the Australian Paralympic team, Rio 2016 will be the fourth Paralympics for the local sailor, who is looking to add to the bronze medal he won in the mixed three-person Sonar in Beijing 2008.
Harrison said he loved the challenge of using the wind and waves in the strategic chess-like racing game.
“I first competed for Australia in 2002, when I was mentored by Noel Robins, a Sydney 2000 gold medallist,” he said.
He said his team was capable of going a long way in the competition.
“The team is definitely capable of achieving gold,” he said.
Colin Harrison and his team in action.