Getting behind the Tweed's Paralympians
THE Tweed community has gathered to let our two Paralympians know they won't be alone in their pursuit of glory at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Support for Mt St Patrick College schoolgirl swimmer Kate Wilson and paratriathlete policeman Bill Chaffey has been strong on the Tweed, with the athletes' collective supporters spurring the pair on for Rio.
Chaffey, a five-time ITU world champion, will be chasing gold on September 11, after paratriathlon was added to the Paralympic line-up for the first time ahead of Rio.
Tweed-Byron Local Area Command Superintendent Wayne Starling and other policing colleagues gathered at Gold Coast Airport last week to show their support for Chaffey as he departed for Rio.
Starling paid tribute to Chaffey and said many of his colleagues at the Tweed police station would be watching him race live on television.
"Billy is a great role model to both senior and junior police and he is the most committed and resilient police officer I have worked with,” Supt Starling said.
"He had the strength of character to fight back to save his career and to be a committed father and husband.
"Not only has he fought back but he has excelled at the sport he loves. I know people with lesser injuries never recover, he is a legend.”
Starling said while Chaffey's colleagues were bullish about his chances of gold, he would be a winner regardless.
"Whilst I have no doubt that Billy will win gold, he is a winner in the hearts of each of his police colleagues,” Supt Starling said.
Mt St Patrick College principal Paul Clohesy said Wilson, who kicks off her Rio campaign on September 9 with a heat swim in the 4x50m freestyle relay, was given a heroes farewell from students, staff and a school community over the moon with excitement.
"Everyone here is rapt,” Mr Clohesy said.
"We farewelled Kate officially with an assembly before she left for the US, it was really exciting.”
Wilson will also compete in the 50m freestyle (September 10) , the 200m individual medley (September 12) , the 100m breaststroke (September 15) and the 100m freestyle (September 17) after qualifying for the Women's S6 class in June.
Mr Clohesy said the school was hopeful of streaming Wilson's races, so students could watch and support as a group.
For a full list of events and times, www.paralympic.org/rio-2016
Kate Wilson: Swimming
Category: Women's Swimming Class S6.
September 9: Heat swim, 4x50m freestyle relay (20pts).
September 10: 50m freestyle.
September 12: 200m Individual Medley.
September 15: 100m breaststroke.
September 17: 100m freestyle.
Swimming heat times: 9.30am-12pm (Rio time), 10.30pm -1am (AEST).
Swimming finals times: 5.30-10pm (Rio time), 6.30am-11am (AEST).
Quick facts: Wilson's strongest event is the 200m individual medley. Wilson, standing at 129.8m tall, qualified for Rio by just 2mm, with the s6 cut-off being 1.3m.
Bill Chaffey: Paratriathlon
Category: Paratriathlon, PT1.
September 10: Men's PT1, 11.20am (Rio time), 12:20am (Wednesday, AEST).
Quick facts: Chaffey has won five paratriathlon world championships (2009, 2011-13, 2015). Finished second in the Hawaiian Ironman in 2013.