For most people, representing their country and brining home a medal is a dream, but for Guringai girl, Amanda Reid, it’s a dream come true.
“It’s the pinnacle sport – the Paralympics and the Olympics. When you win a gold medal there, you’re basically the best in the world. And when you get that medal around your neck you’re running through so many emotions.”
By the age of 19, the Paralympian had already been to two games. But Amanda says sport was always going to be her calling.
“It was always sport for me because I have an intellectual disability so education was never there, I couldn’t get past grade two.”
Amanda was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and at school she had to deal with nasty comments about her being a fair skinned Aboriginal girl.
“When I was at school I used to be called chockie milk, Abo - all the names you could think of under the sun. Nothing
The Guringai girl said nothing used to get done about it, “all you can do is ignore the bullies,” she explained.
“There was one time, I was siting at the desk and a kid came along and threw all my stuff off the desk and said: ‘That’s where Abos sit – down on the floor’. Nobody did anything, I ended up sitting the whole lesson on the floor.”
"Sport taught me how to talk properly, socialise and now I’m able to help not only other kids with disabilities but also to show their parents that sport is important for people with disabilities as well.”
At one stage, Amanda thought being disabled and Aboriginal was a downfall, but now she sees it as a blessing. Now she believes sport was a key tool in assisting her social skills.
“I learnt how to talk properly, socialise and that’s helped me get to where I am now. I’m able to help not only other kids with disabilities but also to show their parents that sport is important for people with disabilities as well.”
Fearlessly zooming into the velodrome, Amanda would get up to speeds of about up to 62 kilometers an hour.
“Mum took loans out to get my first ever track bike – there not cheap and on top of that I had to get modifications on my bike because of my Cerebral Palsy,” she said.
“The aim was world championships, which I had five months to qualify for and then from there, if I qualified, I would have been on the team for Rio. It was all about making world championships.”
“I love being a strong Aboriginal woman, and to show other Aboriginal women you can achieve your dreams - That’s what I live for, helping all with disabilities.”
During that time Amanda put her head down and bum up and trained like a Trojan. It was 100 days out from the Rio opening ceremony when she was told she was selected for the dream team.
“I just went for it - I crossed the line in a massive personal best taking two and a half seconds off my time… I broke the Paralympic record along the way as well and, that’s when I knew that I got the silver and I just thought oh wow I’ve won silver.”
The proud Indigenous girl who missed out on Gold by just two seconds says if it wasn’t for strong role models, she wouldn’t have been able to make it as far as she has.
“My mum and my nan have been there for me, even though mums on the pension she’s done everything she can to help me,” she said.
“I love being a strong Aboriginal woman, and to show other Aboriginal women you can achieve your dreams if you want to. That’s what I live for, helping kids with disabilities and adults too.”
For anyone else that’s disabled, especially Indigenous youth, this is Amanda’s message:
“Dream it, be it, believe it.”