• Amanda Reid is hoping for gold in Tokyo, but has already won the hearts of fans at home. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Gurinagi & Wamba Wamba woman is a rarity in her sport, but wants to encourage more mob to join her in the elite ranks.
25 Aug 2021 - 6:39 PM  UPDATED 25 Aug 2021 - 6:39 PM

Amanda Reid can trump any Paralympian's stories of defying stereotypes and breaking down barriers.

Not only is the 24-year-old the world record holder in the C2 500m time trial, she is also the rarest of athletes in sport - an elite Indigenous cyclist.

Outside of Asian countries, cycling is not renowned for its diversity and Reid loves going against that grain.

Reid and swimmer Ruby Storm are the two First Nations members of Australia's Tokyo Paralympics team.

"It means the world to me to be able to get other Indigenous people into cycling and even para-cycling, just to give it a go," the Gurinagi & Wamba Wamba woman told AAP.

"I want them to know that it is an option apart from the sports that are always put out there like 'if you're Indigenous, this is the sport you should go to'.

"There are other options for people out there."

Reid, who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual impairment, swam at the London Paralympics.

But in 2015, Reid was jaded and she said a clean-up at home spurred her to change sports.

"I found my old cycling jersey from when I was little," Reid said.

"And I'm like, well, let's give this a go again, because I wasn't enjoying swimming anymore, so that's sort of how I got back into the sport."

At Rio, Reid won silver on the track in the 500m time trial and is the favourite in Tokyo, having reduced her own world record to 38.918 seconds in December.

But the Paralympics routinely throws up surprise results.

"You can never go in saying you're the favourite because you never know what everybody else has done," she said.

"You just have to go in and do your best."

While Reid is careful not to talk up her medal hopes, the Izu Velodrome was a happy hunting ground for world records during the Olympics and she wants to join that party.

"I'm hoping to break my mark again, that would be nice," she said.

"I've done the training so hopefully the training will pay off."

But Reid's switch from cycling to swimming hasn't all been success and speed.

Three years ago, she was accused in the media of exaggerating her symptoms.

The Australian Paralympic Committee, now Paralympics Australia, strongly backed Reid at the time, saying she has "multiple impairments".

"It's best to leave the classifying system up to the classifiers," Reid said this week.

Amanda Reid's case 'certainly not unique': Paralympic Committee defends silver medallist
The Paralympic body has dismissed allegations the athlete has misrepresented her impairments, saying she has been through 'rigorous' assessment processes.