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Hello, I'm Miriam Corowa. Olympics episode of Message Stick. Welcome to this special For any Olympic hopeful, and tears it takes a lot of blood, sweat the world's biggest sporting event. to make it to Paul Fleming, For 20-year-old Queensland boxer has been long and hard the road to Beijing but immensely rewarding.

on the Australian boxing team HIs success in winning a place of Tully, was celebrated in his hometown and supporters gathered where his family, friends to cheer on a local hero his childhood dream. who is living out HEARTBEAT that no-one gets nervous, I'd be lying if I said but it's a different kind, like, I get nervous,

it's a good nervous energy. CROWD CHEERS/ROUND BELL RINGS I'm standing in the ring, I reckon I'll get it when how many people are in the stadium, or walking out to the ring and seeing and a bit taken aback, I reckon I'll be a bit shell-shocked can look past that, but, you know, good competitors

and get the job done, what they have to do. and concentrate on they're all going to be there, Beijing, you know, are going to be there, all they bogeymen the boy from the bush... and with a bit of luck, Anything's possible. know, you never know. the Olympics. It's his dream. It's great to see him make

since he was a little fella, It's something he's always wanted he run the Olympic torch in Tully, especially since he run the torch, he said that he, um... and he wanted to go to the Olympics. was a dream, And he's done it.

That's it. OK, hold it there. That's it. Chin up. Just a touch. Perfect. OK. a little bit. Turn your face that way

It's so surreal even now. Until we see him on the day, we still don't believe it. it's going to be, like it's, that's not happening to our family, It's like, no, I'm his mother, you know. that's not happening to our son, I'm the mother of an Olympian. feels like, you know, I know what Thorpie's mum

and that is so, not funny, but, I just can't put it into words. Just bring that foot back there. from the start Kenneth and I always said we knew what he had, when we first seen Paul, ability to go to the Olympic Games. and we both said this kid's got the The skills that we taught him here, he didn't know before, that unfortunately it's taken him a long way,

is a champion, because what we've got now somehow. and I think he's loving it, too, That's good. hammering you with that left hand. So watch him, Pauly, he's when I come here. Yeah, I remember the first day Gavan's an old friend of my dad's and he's a good bloke. boxer from the word go, I knew he was going to make a better

a lot of new things so I knew he was going to teach me some hard times ahead. and I knew I was in for when he was about 12 or 13. I first met Paul I saw talent straight up, Paul's talent. like, there's no mistaking was superior to other kids his age, His hand/eye co-ordination

his attitude, his determination. We chased Gavan up, this little fighter. and told him about "I'd like to have a look at him." And he said, So he got involved, and seen the potential, "He'll be a world champion... and said to me, day." He said, "He will be." And I said, "Ah."

He said, "He'll be at the Olympics. righto, righto," you know, And I said, "Oh, yeah, it's something you can only dream, your child going to the Olympics. This was my goal ever since I was... .. before I can even remember.

and this is what I wanted to do, I remember watching the Olympics

"I want to go to the Olympics." and when I started boxing, I said, on this, And I focused everything I could and made the sacrifices, you know. you've got to be able... That's the major thing, success without sacrifice. leaving everyone, One was leaving my family, to stay with my family, I would have loved and stay training here with Gav, the ultimate thing to do, but that would have been

with my loved ones and that, you know, to be up here being on the moon, but being up here's a bit like it's so far away from everything, you know, and so far away from the competition,

to get down south. and that's what I needed, for me to make at 16 years old, It was a big decision but it's brought me to China. and I haven't seen my little sister I haven't seen my mum and dad it's been a year and eight months, for so long,

what I look like. so they probably won't remember and see them No, it'll be good to get home they see how handsome I've gotten. and see Mum and Dad's faces when Good. How've you been?

Going really well. I know. You got your lipstick on me. Congratulations.

Thank you very much. from the Cassowary Coast Council. There's a cheque

I'd just like to thank everyone. Thanks. Every little bit helps.

yeah, I think he will be... Him being an example,

to come out of Tully. because he's the first Olympian well, an Olympian. Yes. So the kids identify with, Like a pinnacle. And not only to the kids, I think,

the adults here, too, can just achieve, can see that children whatever they do. take that to heart, And I hope the kids a little place that you can come from of themselves. and just make something fantastic Michael. My name's Paul. Hayden. Paul. Good. How you going today?

vice-house captain for Kirrima. What's this? Go Kirrima. I was in Kirrima. How you going today? Good. Yeah, pretty good. You know who I am? Fleming. Paul. The boxer. True. Yes. Cool. I'm going to the Olympics. Do you know that? I'm going to China. You know? Beijing Olympics. Yeah. That's cool. Where you in Mackay? Cos Mackay's the best team.

No, Kirrima's the best. No, Mackay's the best. It's a big thing to carry on my shoulders, being the, how do you say, hero, or role model, more or less, for their kids, and carry the name of Tully,

not only Tully but Queensland, not only Queensland but Australia, on my shoulders is a big thing. Can you show us how to fight?

Yeah, you want me to show you a punch? Yeah, punch him.

I'd do it so fast you wouldn't see it. OK, ready? Oh, it's a blur, like lightening. I can to China and back like that. No, I'm not showing them moves. Go on. Oh, you punch like a girl. Go on, let's see you do better.

Thanks a lot. Yeah, a rascal. What a rascal. He spent most of his days in detention, right from, I think, Grade 1, right through to Year 11. He wasn't the best of students, but I don't think there was a teacher, mainly later on in life,

that has not had respect for Paul, even though they had a lot of, you know, yelling at him, "Keep quiet, stop talking." When I was younger, I wasn't the most well-behaved kid, and I wasn't the most academic and this and that. Dad disciplined me more than anyone I've ever seen. And when Rhianna was born, I kind of snapped out of it,

and I don't think I'd be the person sitting in front of you without her. She's nine years younger, yeah. She's been diagnosed with a brain disorder

that no-one knows about.

But we battle along and do the best we can. And they said she'll never... able to communicate. Yeah, I get a bit emotional about the baby, but you do the best you can.

So long as Paul comes and sees her every now and again, everything's cool. Bubba. Baby. Where are you going?

What are you doing? You know who I am, bubba? You know who I am? I don't think I've ever heard someone who laughs and giggles and screams as loud as Rhianna does, so she enjoys life more than anyone. We take a lot for granted.

Gees, you've gotten big. She won't let me go. You want a hug? Give me a hug, then. You little snothead. Pretty proud of you, Paul. You've done what you wanted to do. You'll carry that name as an Olympic boxer for the rest of your life,

which we think is really good. Yeah. It's all the years of sacrifice. It's all the hard work, hey? You done a lot. It's not only my hard work, it's our hard work too, like, I didn't realise when I was young how much youse actually done.

Now that I'm older I can actually see, you never let me down, I was always there, always at the tournaments and that. I had to spend a lot of time away from my family and with him. And Donna missed out, his sister missed out, but it turned out it was for a good cause.

And yeah, it's really nice to hear them words. The government give boxers very little support as far as money and that goes. You've all got to do it yourself.

It's an incredible hard road for them,

when money's a bit thin. And when you get to Paul's level, they can't work, so how are they going to get their money? You've got to have support somewhere along the line, and nine times out of ten, it's Mum and Dad. Good morning, students. Good morning, teachers. I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to let me come here and speak to you, and hopefully show you that a person that comes from Tully,

that no-one knows about, this wet, soggy patch of the world, that we can go, we can do something. So, if you take anything out of this, take that you've got to focus on your dream, whatever it is, and push for that, and don't let anything get in your way. If there's going to be hurdles in your way, you've just got to jump over them and overcome them, and you can do anything.

You can go to the Olympics, you can be anything you want to be. Thanks, guys. Well, it's been great to catch up with Paul,

I haven't seen him for a number of years, and he's done very well for himself. He's realised his dreams, it's something he's been working towards for a number of years, and I'm happy to see that he's reached his goal. It's great to see. Yeah, I'm playing water polo for Queensland now.

Hopefully I can make the Olympics like Paul. Proud of him. Like, a little boy come from Tully, boxing, going to the Olympics. Pretty good. It seems like there's something in the air here,

there's a lot of sporting people coming out of this place. Yeah. The only thing is we have to move down south to go far. He won seven titles, with Sunstate,

and we never knew, early in the piece, that he could not go to the Olympic or Commonwealth Games under Sunstate Boxing, because they were a breakaway group from Queensland Boxing. And when we found out that, I come home to Mum and I said, "What are we doing this for?" And boxing's dying in north Queensland. It actually is dying in north Queensland,

and not having the tournaments, and like Paul said to me one day, he said, "I'm sick of getting in the ring, and fighting the same bloke seven times." So we sent him away to another trainer who took him on. And since he went to Mick Foley, and, yeah, he's gone really well.

One, two. And that one down. Me and Gavan Jones had known each other a long time with an old boxer, which was Kenny Dalton, and it's funny how sometimes things are meant to be. You look around, and every now and then, something catches your eye. I noticed how he was fighting, and it impressed me. It was a very senior style of boxing and very nice. It's very important that people realise that other coaches have sometimes got let their boys go.

I said to Mick, "Would you be prepared to take Pauly on?" Of course, it's like someone coming along and giving you a gold nugget, of course you're going to take him on, you know what I mean? You've just been handed something on a plate. It's not all about boxing, you know, you've got to have fun as well. She is like a best friend,

I think she punches me more than my mates do. You know, we don't hide anything from each other,

and we're 100% honest with each other,

and I think that's what people respect about me and Sarah. Wrong hand. I met Paul just over two years ago, almost two-and-a-half years ago, at the boxing gym.

His first impressions of me weren't bad,

but he wasn't the normal person that I would have probably chosen to date. Very loud and very in-your-face. But he does have a very kind side and a very warm side, and after I got to spend some time with him, I did realise he is one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met. Yeah, it was at the gym, and she was spunky, so, you know, I was single at the time,

so I thought I'd try and weasel my way in there

with a couple of cheesy pick-up lines, but they didn't seem to work, at that stage.

I got the big rejection, but she ended up coming back, we started talking, and she found out that I wasn't a little weasel, that I appeared to be at they gym, and that I was actually all right. Me and Paul are from completely different worlds.

Completely different worlds. From day one I've been told that I can do whatever I want, I can be whatever I want, whereas Paul had one shot, pretty much. But I think that's what makes us so good together.

Opposites attract, so it works well. It's good. It's not boring, it's never boring.

I'm not, probably, the kind of boyfriend you bring back to your family and that, cos I've got tattoos, and I'm not as well-spoken as the city mob, but, you know, it's all about the person you are on the inside at the end of the day. There's so many hearts involved in this,

so many people believing in him and following him and knowing how much he deserves success.

I think if winning a gold medal relied on how many people you had behind you, he would easily win, because he's got so many hearts behind him. Paul's a southpaw. He's not an orthodox fighter, his power hand is his left hand. Amateur boxing's about numbers, it's like fencing, it's like prepare, prepare then strike.

And some of those fighters are a little bit boring, but sometimes those boring fighters win all the time. There's lots of boxers I look up to. I kind of look at all boxers and take what I can out of each of them. Like, everyone has something they stand out at, in their fighting style, so I just have a look at them and take little bits out of it, and try and make myself a better boxer. Of course Lionel Rose

is the first Australian Aboriginal world champion, and, yeah, his fighting style is similar to mine.

I've watched a lot of tapes of him, he had some good fights with Fighting Harada. I think this will be a hard fight. I can think of 110,000 reasons why I should win. It'll probably be the hardest of my career.

Boxing's changed a lot, because, I think, a lot of young blokes aren't prepared to put the hard yards in. That's what it's all about. Australia's starting to actually... ..they're starting to get their foot in there,

and the national coach is doing a good job. The different thing is having the AIS has encouraged the boys to start being more competitive. You'll see now we've got one or two, one or tow or three top boys in every division, and, you know, it's fast and furious for the top spot. It's been 20 years since we won a medal in boxing at the Olympics, Spike Cheney, I think, was the last one, who won a silver,

and that was long time ago, and we've got a very good, young, but experienced team this time, I think the anticipation's pretty good at the moment, I think all the boys are happy, they've got a lot more confidence in themselves, and that's the biggest thing. When you're fighting, it's a sprint event, but it's also an endurance event, because your body's got to be able to back up.

At the Olympics you'll have a fight, then a two-day break, or a three-day, and then you'll fight again. Your body's in shock mode, so you just keep throwing yourself in there.

I didn't really know the boys until we met and found out we're all Indigenous boys, three of us, and I was in Athens. So fighting the same lightweight category, just walking around, my eyes were wide open, you know, jaw hanging on the ground. But now, second time around,

it's a bit more experience and I know what I'm expecting, that's what I tell the boys. When you get there,

you're going to lose a lot of concentration on fighting, you just want to see everything and you see all these athletes, big stars and stuff. I'm Luke Boyd, I'm 21 years old, and I fight in the bantamweight division. I'm, like, so excited, from the time they announced it

and said, "You're part of the Olympic team now." And I've just been buzzing from then on. I just been buzzing, every day, wake up, and looking in the mirror saying, "Yeah, I'm an Olympian,

I'm going to the Olympic games." Every day. Luke? What do they call Luke? The Bomber. I call him the Animal. He comes forward and just tries to bash people. It's good. He's not a pretty boxer like me and Blue. Me and Blue kind of box a bit more,

but Boydy just gets in there and bashes people. I love it. Paul's exceeded all my expectations. He's got a lot of natural ability, he's been schooled right, right from a young kid, you know, he's been taught right and he's very flashy. But he had one big obstacle in his way, and that was Luke Jackson from Tasmania.

But Paul just lifted up another gear and stepped it up and beat Luke.

There's a lot of hurdles I've had to overcome, like Luke Jackson. He's beaten me three times before the Oceanias and he was a hurdle I had to overcome, and I beat him at the Oceanias to make the Olympics. He's just maturing now.

I mean, fighters don't mature, really, until they're 22, 24,

and he's starting to mature now, so the best, they haven't seen out of him yet. When he run the torch he said, "I want to go to the Olympics, I want to be the first Indigenous, or first boxer, to get a gold medal." And he got a gold medal in Germany

in the Chemistry Cup.

37 years since that was ever won by an Australian and that's a feat on its own. With the World Juniors, he was the third ever to get a medal at all, at the World Juniors in Morocco. So he's making a lot of firsts,

so we've got our fingers crossed for the gold. He can do anything, and he's an exciting fighter to watch, and he's got charisma, hatfulls of that, you know what I mean? He's got miles of charisma and he's got a smile that invites you in, and I think he's going to be an exciting face for Australian boxing

for a little bit of time to come. Looking at this Olympics, I think he's going to go crash hot. He can do anything. You don't have to be from a big town to dream big. He didn't have everything, he didn't have all the opportunities in the world, but he had one chance, and he pushed that chance, and he's made it. If I win something here, it's just going to be an added bonus.

Just making the team has been an arduous journey in itself so if I do well here then that's you bewt, but I'm only 20, this is my first thing, first major, big, international tournament, and I may not do anything this time, but next Commonwealth Games, next Olympics, I could be bringing home a medal at both,

or maybe not, maybe, so, yeah, see what happens. See what happens. That's all this week. Thanks for joining us.

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I'm on a journey to discover Europe's lost civilisation. It's an amazing tale of religious tolerance, flourishing culture and remarkable scholarship. This is the story of Islam in Europe.

on European art, science and philosophy. for the people and places that our history books neglect. I'm searching for evidence of a lost civilisation centuries ahead of its time. The experts I meet will challenge many of the assumptions we have about our past.

Most Europeans assume their culture was shaped by the Greeks and nurtured by the Romans, but extinguished during the Dark Ages, and that the Renaissance was literally the rebirth of Greek culture. But the facts are not so simple. There is a chapter from Europe's past that tells a very different story, one that's been largely forgotten.

Muslims came westwards from Arabia and the Middle East. Over the next 800 years, they set down roots here in Spain. on the course of European civilisation and history.

This story started in the 7th century when a new religion, Islam, united the Arabs and they set out to conquer the world. By the 8th century they had built a vast empire and acquired all of the knowledge of the ancient world.

8th-century Spain was dominated by the Visigoths, one of Europe's barbarian tribes. And only 12km of water separated them from the Berber tribes of Morocco. In 710, these Muslims crossed the straits, defeated the Visigoth army and swept through Spain. Within five years, they had colonised the country and called it Al-Andalus.

The capital of early Al-Andalus was Cordoba, the most advanced city in Medieval Europe The mosque was the first great monument to this enlightened civilisation. But bitter in-fighting shattered Al-Andalus into city states.

One of the greatest of these was Toledo, a beacon of religious tolerance and a centre of learning, In Granada, the Alhambra is considered to be the most beautiful example of Muslim craftsmanship The pinnacle of scientific and cultural excellence in the Middle Ages was Al-Andalus.

Alfonso VI took Toledo and the Christian reconquest of Spain began. elsewhere in Europe another conquering force was making its presence felt - the Normans.

In 1066, of course, William the Conqueror invaded England, but two brothers, Robert and Roger Giscard, were beginning to take one Siciliancity after another. also impressed the Normans in Palermo. They found a city rich in art, architecture and scholarship. That's where I'm headed.

Back in 827 at the height of Muslim power in Spain,