Paralympian sets sights on first Aussie medal
Brant Garvey now has only one thing on his mind.
His road to the Rio Paralympics is still more than 100 days out, but the Albany-raised Paratriathlete has set his sights on a history-making moment as the first Australian to win a medal when the sport makes its debut in September.
The above-knee amputee at birth, who has only been running for just over two years, qualified for the Paralympics last week after placing second in his final trial race in Penrith.
Aiming to make his three-year Paralympic dream a reality, Garvey ticked the final selection box to book his flight to Rio, finishing three minutes behind the winner, but only needed a podium finish to kick-start him counting down the days.
“It’s 130 days,” he said.
“It’s definitely something I’m keeping a firm eye on that’s for sure.
“Obviously the only thing I really think about, there is nothing else in my head but September 7 — well my race is on the 10th, but that’s all I think about.
“The original goal when I started this journey was to be the first Australian or equally one of the first Australians to represent our sport in this country, but now the goal is to be the first Aussie to take a medal.”
The journey for the 31-year-old has been a bumpy one after facing financial hurdles which threatened his qualification process before health provider HBF stepped in to sponsor him so he could concentrate on just his training.
With plenty of support, Garvey had raised $20,000 through a crowdfunding campaign and was contemplating becoming an Uber driver so he could afford the maintenance of his three prosthetic legs, which include running and cycling blades which cost $20,000 each and require constant maintenance.
“This was something that was constantly on my mind,” he said.
“I was only sleeping four or five hours a night trying to figure out a way we could fund this journey, so it was a massive relief but racing that last race — it’s the most nervous I have ever been for a race in my life.
“Nothing has compared to the final tick box of getting Australia a spot knowing that if you didn’t get that top three position that it wasn’t going to happen.
“I have been reading in the media there have been plenty of Olympic and Paralympic athletes that aren’t making that target and missing out and I couldn’t think of anything worse.”
Garvey, who is ranked fourth in the world for his class and became the first above-knee amputee in Australia to compete in a full ironman triathlon in a world record time, said his training, travelling 18km in the pool, 300km on the bike and 25km on running the track each week would increase.
“My coach has the opinion that the real work begins now which is a little scary based on the amount of the work I was already doing — I’m actually petrified,” Garvey said.
“The guy who beat me in Penrith in the last race beat me by over three minutes and I know that he is probably what will be the best in the world and that’s what I need to beat.
“We have got to figure out a way to get rid of almost four minutes to guarantee a medal in Rio.
“Bike is a big part for me so the cycle is where we need to make up a lot of ground and then a bit in the run and we know it can be done, but it’s going to be a crapload of work and pain.”
Garvey said he was planning to visit Albany before leaving for Rio for a motivational talk through his noXcuses brand.
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