Kempsey born Commonwealth Games athlete reflects on career

“Hard Yakka” – that’s how Terry Giddy, 68, describes his elite sporting career which spanned more than three decades and has taken him around the world.

Terry, who was born and raised in the river town of Kempsey, NSW, became paraplegic at 15 after a tree felling incident, but continued his love of sport.

A dare from his workmates led to him lining up to compete at his first international event - the 1970 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Edinburgh, Scotland – at age 20.

He brought home three golds and a silver, and a passion for the sport that saw him win track and field medals at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics, 1975 Paralympics in Dunedin, NZ, the 1984 New York/Stoke Mandeville Paralympics, the 1985 Seoul Paralympics, the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.

He won gold in discus in New York, silver in the 100m wheelchair race in Heidelberg and discus in Seoul and Barcelona and bronze in shot put at Barcelona and Atlanta.

After the Dunedin Games, the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games was officially disestablished but that didn’t stop Terry, who continued to forge a Paralympic career.

In 2000, Terry received an Australian Sports Medal and carried the Sydney Olympic Torch. He threw a shot put world record at the Sydney Games but was disqualified on review of video footage.

After a cracked sternum and back injury led to a period of retirement, he came back for a final time at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games coming seventh in the seated shot put and was officially classed Australia’s oldest ever Commonwealth Games athlete.

He officially retired in 2004 and was honoured by Australian Athletics leaders including Chris Nunn, who said his contribution to Australian sport had been first class.

Terry continued his love of sport even after competition, running a gym at Kempsey that has trained world title winning power lifters, and is keenly anticipating the upcoming Games – not least because they begin in the week of his 68th birthday on April 2.

“I certainly am looking forward to the Games,” he said.

“You have to be both physically and mentally well to make it in that league.”

While the training regime isn’t quite as strenuous today, he still enjoys an active life with support from Bolton Clarke’s Port Macquarie At Home Support team, who visit daily.

The avid punter said he enjoys the simple pleasures including time at home with his wife and dog and a spot of wood work when he has the chance.