Member for Wagin Terry Waldron MLA has congratulated now five-time Paralympian Brad Ness OAM, who was granted the honour of the nation’s flagbearer at the Paralympic Games opening ceremony, in Rio.
The 41-year old, who spent his childhood on a farm in Wagin, is captain of The Rollers, the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team.
“Local man Brad Ness is a great example of turning a negative, life-changing event into something positive and awe-inspiring,” Mr Waldron said.
Ness lost his leg at the age of 18, in a boating accident when working on the ferries off Rottnest.
“Since that time he’s attended five Paralympic Games, including Rio, won Gold at the Beijing Games in 2008 and silver at both the 2004 Athens and 2012 London Paralympic Games,” Mr Waldron said.
“Through my involvement in sport and during my days as Sport and Recreation Minister, I got to know Brad well.
“It’s not just his commitment to his sport, team or even the Paralympics that is most impressive. It’s his ability to encourage and assist young people who have gone through similar experiences to change their lives for the better.”
WA’s Ness, who now resides in Fremantle, made his Paralympic debut with the Rollers on home turf in Sydney, 2000. The Rio Games mark the third consecutive time he has captained the team at the Paralympics.
“Stories like Brad’s are testament to the fact that if you come from regional WA this does not have to affect your chances of achieving your dreams,” Mr Waldron said.
Nationals WA candidate for Roe Peter Rundle, an avid sportsman himself, said Ness did not let anything stand in his way.
“He is a great example of someone making the most of his abilities and has shown just what can be accomplished if you don’t let anything stop you.”
This will be Ness’ last Paralympic Games.
About 4350 athletes from more than 160 countries will compete in 528 medal events in 22 different sports at these Games. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games run from September 7-18.
The State Government supported the Australian Paralympic Committee team appeal with $150,000, and supports Paralympians through the WA Institute of Sport. For more information, visit http://www.paralympic.org