Paralympian who overcame bullies nominated for top award

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Para-cyclist Amanda Reid has been nominated for an athlete of the year award.

In just 15 months, Amanda Reid has bagged a Paralympic silver medal, won two Para-Cycling World Championships, and been named 2017 NAIDOC Sports Person of the year.

Now she has been nominated for the NSW Institute of Sport's Office of Sport Female Athlete of the Year award. 

Remarkably, Reid’s success came despite enduring bullying over her cerebral palsy and Indigenous heritage during her childhood. 

The former Paralympic swimmer's success as a cyclist came after an unlikely encounter with some old memorabilia less than two years ago.

“It all started when I went underneath the house, I was looking for something and I found my old cycling clothes from when I was little. And I was like 'oh, let's give this a go again' and that's how it all started,” the 20-year-old told SBS World News.

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Para-cyclist Amanda Reid has been nominated for an athlete of the year award

The Wamba-Wamba and Guringai woman had represented Australia as a swimmer in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, but wanted to make a quick impact in her return to two wheels.

“I think I trained my butt off. I really wanted to make that team. I really want to make World Champs at the same time,” she said.

“I had six months from when I first started cycling to make the World Championship team and to put my name forward to the Paralympic team.”

On cloud nine after making the team, a mishap two days before flying out to Rio in September 2016 looked to be a bad omen for Reid’s campaign.

But it did little to stop her breaking the Paralympic record in the Women’s Individual 500 metre C2 Time Trial, beaten to the gold medal by a World Record effort by Dutch rider Alyda Norbius.

Using sport to overcome adversity

Reid says her cerebral palsy and Indigenous heritage made her a target when she was growing up but can now look back at her resilience and the support she received from her mother, Kate.

“To see where I’ve come, especially seeing mum being a single parent. She’s just helped me through everything," she said.

“She was my rock when it was a really hard time.

“All the bullies that I had at school, they're still sitting at home. They haven't travelled the world like I have, which means I've had the last laugh.”

Despite not being able to travel to Rio to see her daughter’s silver-medal winning performance, Kate Reid says she is proud of all Amanda’s sporting triumphs:

“It doesn't matter what hurdles or what barriers have been in place, she's been able to jump over them, go around them, knock them down and keep going,” she said. 

The 2017 NSW Institute of Sport Awards will take place in Sydney on November 16. 

Source: SBS News

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