'I know exactly who I am'
"I LEARNT a lot about myself” is a cliche Commonwealth Paraplegic Games-bound athlete Bill Chaffey places no weight in.
Appearing on Channel Nine's This Time Next Year program on Monday night - which sees Australians make life-changing decisions over the course of 12 months - Chaffey made a pledge to win gold at 2016's Rio Paralympics.
Filming began in February of 2016, requiring Chaffey to undertake the unfamiliar task of engaging with television crews and cameras. While history now shows Chaffey was unsuccessful in his pledge after finishing fourth in the PT1 paratriathlon event in Rio, the television experience neither enhanced, nor detracted from the understanding of his drive and abilities.
"I scoff at that learning about myself talk, that's just a cliche as far as I'm concerned,” Chaffey said.
"I know exactly who I am.”
And who Chaffey is, is a machine of an athlete, who pushes his body to the limits as an incomplete paraplegic after being struck by a truck while training on his bike for an ironman event.
Chaffey spent five months in hospital with four broken vertebrae, an open book pelvic fracture and two broken elbows, but that wasn't enough to keep him from competing on the world stage.
Securing TRI-1 paratriathlon world Championships in 2009, 2011-13 and 2015, Chaffey set his sights on Rio after his PT-1 racing classification was added to the schedule.
Although his This Time Next Year pledge of winning gold didn't come to fruition, Chaffey said it was now just another race.
"I can honestly say I don't know what happened in Rio. I swam well, on the bike I was pushing as hard as I could, but the body couldn't give me what I needed,” he said.
"That happens, and on the day I just didn't have it.
"I put past races and wins behind me and each race is its own entity. I'm not looking to seek redemption for Rio, I just want to win every race.”
Chaffey, a Tweed resident, has firmly set his sights on the upcoming Commonwealth Games on his home turf and has increased long distance training as part of a gruelling regime.
In doing the hard yards now, Chaffey plans to increase speed training in his pursuit of an elusive gold.
"There's a few events between now and then to get myself racing fast, but April is the main focus,” Chaffey said.
"Our category has changed and people with a higher spinal chord legion, who might not have the same range of movement, get a three-and-a-half minute headstart. One guy from England who'll be starting with me will give me loads of competition, so it'll certainly be a close race.
"It is a big race, and being a home race, there's even more glory in it for me. While I say I want to win every race, the magnitude of a home Games is certainly inspiring me even more.”
Running from April 4-15, 2018, GC2018 will set a new Games record by hosting up to 300 para-athletes and 38 medal events across seven sports.