“I finally have something to fight for”
changed all that. I had to have invasive surgery and while I was stuck in bed, watching the Games on TV, something just clicked. I said to myself ‘What am I doing?’ I had full use of my upper body but wasn’t making the most of it, so I decided that if I recovered well, I’d do something to better myself. I Googled ‘extreme endurance parasport’ and read about Aussie paratriathlete Bill Chaffey. I didn’t know much about paratriathlon, but I knew I had to do it!
I got the all-clear and contacted Triathlon Queensland, then joined a swim squad two days later.
I’ve been in the sport for almost six years now, and being selected for the Games made it hit home how many people have helped me – teaching me how to use my hand cycle and how to be comfortable in the water. Hopefully those people will see me at the Games and know their help got me here.
Although I made it to the 2016 Rio Paralympics – and exceeded my expectations by finishing ninth – I didn’t feel like I’d done enough or fought for a medal, so I reached out to a new coach and focused on getting the best out of myself.
I’m ready to fight for a medal now and feel like I’ve achieved my purpose. I was born on the Gold Coast, so it will be special to put on the green and gold shirt at these Games. Plus my parents will be there and my mates will be able to watch me race.
When I think about everything that’s played out since my disability, I can see how easily all of this might not have happened. Hopefully I can make everyone proud.”