Katy Parrish (Vic) will descend on the 2012 London Paralympic Games with a mission to forget the injuries of the past and surge forward to success on the world stage.
Despite being hampered by injury at the 2008 Paralympics, Parrish made the final in the 100m and 200m, before a stress fracture forced her withdrawal from the IPC Athletics World Championships last year. The 21-year-old is this time determined to prove herself against the best in the world.
Parrish said: “I was so young in Beijing, very young actually. I enjoyed being there so much but my body wasn’t as strong as it should be and I couldn’t deliver what I thought I was capable of.
“Unfortunately for me my luck didn’t get much better, because six weeks before the world championships last year I was struck down with a stress fracture and that meant I wasn't able to go.
“I suppose London is about personal redemption if that makes sense. I’ve missed out on performing at my best the past two times I have made an Australian team and for that reason I want to deliver in London and if that’s a medal then fantastic.
“I’ve already decided that I will compete in the long jump to open, before the 100m, the 4x100m and the 200m. It’s a big program but one that my body is ready for this time around and something that I am so pumped about.”
Parrish has cerebral palsy and competes in the T/F 38 class.
Originally from Adelaide (SA), it was her friendship with three-time Paralympic gold medallist Katrina Webb that saw her timely introduction to the sport of track and field.
She has since won two gold medals at the Arafura Games in 2007, made her Paralympic debut at just 17 and set national under 20 records for her class in the 100m and 200m in 2008 and more recently relocated to Melbourne (Vic), to work with Tim Matthews at the Victorian Institute of Sport.
Parrish said: “I became good friends with Katrina because her husband was the coach of my brother’s water polo team, and from there she invited me to a Talent Search day with the APC and, as they say, the rest is history.
“She was aware of the muscle weakness in my left arm and leg, but also knew I was a bit of sports nut so when she told me that I could be on track for possible future Australian selection I just couldn’t wait to get started.
“I’m now lucky enough to be based out at the VIS where I train with two of my best mates in Kelly Cartwright and Jack Swift, and excitingly we are all headed to the Paralympic Games together. Our coach is Tim Matthews and he is a star, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment and I think that is part of the reason I continue to improve and hopefully succeed come London.”
Parrish is very buoyant about her hopes for the Australian team and when asked who to keep an eye on at the 2012 London Paralympic Games she responded immediately.
“Katy Parrish. It’s my time to do well and fingers crossed that’s the result that comes.”
The 2012 London Paralympic Games will be the fifteenth Paralympics, the second to be hosted in Great Britain after Stoke Mandeville in 1984 and the first to be staged in London.
An estimated 4200 athletes and officials from 165 countries will compete across 20 sports at the Games.
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