sports

Five awesome female Aussie athletes chasing gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

1. Carlee Beattie

Born with a left arm limb deficiency, Carlee Beattie first started competing in athletics in 2007. After only a year after starting her athletic passion, Beattie represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games. With no success in Beijing but a great learning experience, Beattie returned home to break her own world record in the F46 long jump at the 2011 Sydney Track Classic, jumping an awesome effort of 6.01m – 8cm further than her previous record. A record holder heading into the London games, Beattie went on to win a silver medal at the London Paralympic games in 2012. Beattie is entering the Rio games with confidence, hoping to set a new world record of a 6.30m jump.

2. Tiffany Thomas-Kane

At the age of 14 years old, Tiffany Thomas-Kane is representing her country in swimming. Not sure what you were doing at 14. Thomas-Kane’s short stature hasn’t held her back from achieving great success within the pool. At 13 years of age, Thomas-Kane burst onto the international swimming scene when she won gold, in a record time of one minute and 34.95 seconds in the S6 100m breaststroke at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships. But she didn’t just go home with gold, Thomas-Kane won silver in the 50m butterfly as well as bronze in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle. Making her Paralympic debut, Thomas-Kane will be heading into Rio as the youngest athlete on the Australian Paralympic team.

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3. Katja Dedekind

Born in South Africa but raised in the suburbs of Brisbane, Katja Dedekind was introduced to swimming by her mother at an early age. Born with a vision impairment, attending training sessions, Dedekind hoped to one day to “swim like a dolphin”. Achieving just that, in 2015 at Brisbane’s McDonald’s Swimming Queensland Sprint Championships, Dedekind was the recipient of the Swimmer of the Meet award after placing first in the 50m freestyle and second in the 50m backstroke and butterfly finals. Later that year at the SSA Pacific School Games in Adelaide, Dedekind competed in 10 events and winning positions in eight. At the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships, Dedekind earnt her spot on the Rio swimming team after contesting in nine events. Dedekind placed third in the 200m freestyle and fifth in the 50m backstroke and butterfly finals, as well as earning gold in the mixed 450m freestyle relay. Dedekind will also be the youngest athlete on the Australian Paralympic team, alongside teammate Tiffany Thomas-Kane.

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4. Emma Booth

With a love of horses from a young age, Emma Booth always dreamed of riding her beloved animal. Having never ridden horses prior to receiving her first pony, Booth’s natural talents saw her enter her first competition just four months later. With a pursuing dreams to compete on the world stage, in 2011 Booth accepted a job in Germany, riding and training horses for international dressage riders. Whilst on the path to fulfilling her dreams, Booth was involved in a car accident, suffering near fatal injuries. These injuries resulted in Booth becoming a paraplegic. Only seven months after her accident, Booth found strength to get back onto her horse. Learning about her options, Booth entered the arena as a Para-equestrian. Booth made her international debut in 2014 at the CPEID3 in the UK, where she brought home fifth and sixth place. In Rio, you’ll see Booth compete in Dressage in the individual championship as well as in the team championship.

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5. Katie Kelly

With an incredible CV that has seen her work in the Sports consumer services industry for over 20 years, Katie Kelly is now competing on the sporting field as an elite Para-triathlete. Calling Canberra home, Kelly’s day consists of at least two sessions a day of running, swimming or riding, as well as strength and conditioning and recovery work. If not running, in the pool or on a bike, Kelly is working as a marketing consultant and establishing her Foundation, Sport Access. Born with a rare deaf and blind degenerative condition called Usher Syndrome, Kelly’s hearing loss began when she was five but her vision did not start degenerating until her mid-twenties. Once competing as an able-bodied triathlete and marathon runner, in 2015 Kelly’s sight had deteriorated to a legally blind status and so Kelly turned her disability into an opportunity to compete at a Paralympic Games. Kelly made her debut for Australia at the ITU World Para-triathlon Event on the Sunshine Coast in March 2015, where she won gold in the PT5 class and placed top five in the world. This will be Kelly’s first Paralympic games. Go girl!

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