Australia has produced some remarkable athletes who’ve achieved great things in sport but for Paralympian and Bupa Kempsey Aged Care resident Terry Giddy, competing was more than about setting world records.
Mr Giddy, who was born and raised in Kempsey, became a paraplegic in his teens after a tree felling accident, but he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his love of sport.
“I could’ve ended up in the pub like a lot of other people do in my situation or in sports which was more in my makeup and I haven’t looked back at my choice since,” Giddy said.
Overcoming adversity is innate for the 68-year-old resident who reflects fondly on his 36 years of sportsmanship.
“In the beginning it was all fun and games but the turning point for me was in 1988 when we became elite athletes and specialised in certain sports,” he said.
Crucial to his success was a dedication to his dream of being the best in discus, shot put, basketball as well as the 100m, 200m and 400m wheelchair races he competed in.
“My thoughts were that I did things my way, I trained my way and I wasn’t concerned with what other people thought of what I was doing. My goal was always to go away, play and win every time,” Giddy said.
The six-time Paralympic medal winner, who also has twelve world title medals under his belt alongside ten Commonwealth Games medals said that although a back injury led to his early retirement, he trained hard to give it one last shot.
“I competed at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and managed to come in seventh place in shotput. I was also classed as Australia’s oldest athlete to ever compete at the time in the Games,” he said.
“You always have your low points but you work through them and you’ll eventually end up on the right track. You just have to get your mind into it and do everything you can to pick yourself up again.”
Bupa Kempsey General Manager Donna Farrer said it’s the strength of people like Terry who can use their tenacity and experience to shape perceptions of those living with a disability.
“Terry is such an inspiring role model to me, our team members, residents and visitors. It’s so important for us to celebrate the lives and achievements of our residents and what makes them unique,” Farrer said.