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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Page: 10363

Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (13:46): I rise to congratulate Australia's Paralympians on their amazing celebration of sporting ability at the 14th Paralympic Games in London. A record 164 nations competed—including our 161 athletes—across 13 sports. In the final tally, Australia finished fifth, with 85 medals. This is a spectacular result, and our community is especially proud to have four champion Paralympians in our region.

There is Joann Formosa from Broadford who, on her horse BP Worldwide, won gold in the grade 1B equestrian dressage competition. Joann is a member of Hidden Valley riding club near my home town of Broadford and volunteers with Riding for the Disabled. It is a fantastic accomplishment for Joann to win the gold; her determination rewarded her with this gold medal.

There is Natalie Smith, who won a bronze model in the SH1 10-metre air rifle event. Nat has been competing for just two years and had already won a gold medal at the 2011 IPC World Cup held in Sydney. Before Natalie went to London I presented her with an Australian flag, and she flew it proudly in the athletes village. Her story is an absolute inspiration.

There is Jake Lappin from Kilmore, who turned 20 just yesterday and who competed in the 400-metre and 800-metre wheelchair-racing events with a strong performance. In the lead-up to the Olympics, Jake trained twice a day, six days a week, including with weights and professional training.

Then there is Ahmed Kelly, who competed with great determination in the 50-metre breaststroke, just missing out on a bronze medal. He grew up on a farm near Kilmore with his adoptive mother, Moira Kelly, and siblings. Now that Ahmed has had a taste, I am sure that his determination will see him go even better in the next Paralympics. (Time expired)