Swimmers Ellie Cole and Matt Haanappel are proof of the positive impact the Paralympics can have on young lives.By Marc McGowan
Swimmers Ellie Cole and Matt Haanappel are proof of the positive impact the Paralympics can have on young lives.
Cole, who had her right leg amputated at the age of three due to having a rare form of cancer called sarcoma, was just 16 when she went to the Beijing Games as a self-confessed ‘‘wide-eyed’’ teenager.
It was much the same for 18-year-old Croydon Hills resident Haanappel, who has cerebral palsy, when he experienced the Paralympics for the first time at London last year.
Frankston’s Cole — wiser for her debut — returned last year as a senior team member and added four gold and two bronze medals to the silver and two bronze she claimed at Beijing.
They took part in Goulburn Valley’s inter-district training at Shepparton’s Aquamoves on Monday night before speaking to the swimmers about their experiences.
‘‘There’s a quote I’ve always lived by: ‘It’s better to get a sore neck from aiming too high than a hunchback from aiming too low’,’’ Cole said.
‘‘Something that’s been really important to me in my career is goal-setting. You should have big goals, but keep them realistic.
‘‘That’s definitely the advice I would give. Just don’t go with the flow, actually have goals and dreams and things to strive for.’’
Cole, the Sarah-Grace Sarcoma Foundation patron, spent the three years leading into the London Games training at Australian Institute of Sport’s Canberra base.
‘‘I went to London with a lot more experience under my belt, a bit more determination and a bit more race tactics,’’ she said.
‘‘The games wasn’t such a shock to me the second time around.’’
Haanappel was unable to quite describe the ‘‘amazing experience’’ he had at London, where he was a heat swimmer for Australia’s gold medal-winning 4
‘‘To be in front of 10
‘‘It was my first experience at Paralympic level or a major level of competition and what other 18-year-olds are doing stuff like that?
‘‘It was a life lesson for me, not just for my swimming. I’ve come back and been able to teach the other Year 12 students in my cohort that there are other things out there in life.’’
Haanappel, who swims for Diamond Valley-Eltham Aquatic, trained up to 20 hours a week to qualify for London.
He set high goals, just like Kings Swimming Club member Cole, and put his Year 12 studies on hold until this year to achieve his Paralympic dream.
‘‘To get out there and get the boys into the final was a massive learning experience for me,’’ Haanappel said.
‘‘To be there and selected not only in the Australian Paralympic team, but an Australian relay at my age and classification — S6 — it has never been done before.
‘‘It was an honour to be part of those relays.’’
A Tamleugh North farmer has described the theft of four sheep fences from his tornado-damaged property ''a low act''.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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