Victoria’s top Paralympians ready for Rio

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Our Australian Paralympic hopefuls — Maddy Hogan, [javelin] Richard Colman [multiple T53 events], Ahmed Kelly [swimming], Tanya Huebner [swimming] and Jessica Gallagher [track cycling] at the Victorian Institute of Sport. Picture: Alex Coppel

THEY’RE Victoria’s superhumans — our talented Paralympic athletes who have overcome huge personal ­obstacles to be ready to make their mark on the world stage.

About 35 Victorian Institute of Sport Paralympians will be in Rio de Janeiro 100 days from ­tomorrow.

VIS chief executive Marie Harrison said anticipation was building.

“Our Paralympians did the VIS and Australia proud at the London 2012 Games,” Ms Harrison said.

“We had some extraordinary results with 66 per cent of VIS athletes contributing to the medal tally. Victorians can be assured we are sending another team of hardworking and talented athletes to Rio in September.’’

Swimmer Ahmed Kelly will be among those ready to shine and is waiting on final selection in early July for his pet event, the 50m breaststroke.

The charismatic 24-year-old has a growing fanbase thanks to his efforts on and off the world stage.

In 1998 he arrived in Australia from Iraq for surgery to remove deformed sections of his lower legs.

Fitted with prosthetics, he learned to walk but was quickly running, even earning a place in a footy team. But it was his strength and pace in the pool which really showcased his natural athleticism.

Kelly came close to a medal in London but hopes to make up for it this time around.

“I will definitely have a challenge on my hands,’’ he said. “It’s a very competitive race … but I will be aiming for an upset. I know it will come down to hard work and the support of the great team I have around me.’’

VIS teammate Richard Colman, who will in multiple T53 wheelchair racing events, said it was a privilege to compete.

“Representing Australia is the ultimate achievement for any athlete and one truly incredible experience,’’ he said.

‘’Everyone has a dream and everyone can achieve their dream no matter who they are if they truly believe in themselves.’’



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