Western students take on the track and pool at Paralympics

Gordon Allan and Timothy Hodge are two familiar faces that Western Sydney University will be cheering on at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games commencing on 24 August.

Gordon, who studies sport and exercise science, will compete in the cycling. While Timothy, who studies engineering, will take to the pool with the support of his coach Clinton Camilleri – who is a graduate of the University.

Growing up with cerebral palsy, Gordon said he always loved watching the Paralympics on TV and looked up to those who competed at the games.

“To finally be here myself is really special and I'm just looking forward to soaking in the whole experience and putting on the green and gold kit!” said Gordon.

At the age of 19, he broke into the Australian Cycling Team at the 2018 Para Track World Championships and came fifth in the 1km time trial as the youngest team member. He has since gone on to break multiple world records and claim World Championship medals.

Like many athletes, preparations for the Lalor Park resident have looked a little different for the Paralympics but he’s optimistic about competing.

“Training wasn't always perfect during lockdown, such as adapting track sessions to be done at home when the velodrome was shut, but it was just about staying focused and trusting that the work was still being done,” he said.

As a seasoned swimmer joining his first Australian team at just 14 and having been selected for the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Timothy is excited for a new experience and the opportunity to pursue a gold medal at Tokyo.

“To be able to experience another Paralympics and to compete at the top level of sport in the world in green and gold is something that not many people get to do once, let alone twice, so it's something that I will always remember,” said Timothy.

Touching down in Japan, Timothy said he felt excited that the last five years of training and all the hardships through lockdowns had finally paid off.

“COVID lockdowns affected our pool and training availability, and forced us to make every session count. I think this helped me work through one of my toughest but best preps to date, and that's given me the confidence and determination to give it my best here,” he said.

The Kings Langley resident, who has a physical impairment to his leg and hand, has previously won a silver medal in the men’s 100m backstroke S9 and men’s 100m breaststroke SB8 at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“All my family and friends back home have been very supportive throughout my swimming career, and they’re excited for me to finally reach Tokyo and to watch me from the other side of their TV screens,” said Timothy.

Western Sydney University is proud to support a range of talented athletes and performers like Gordon and Timothy through its Elite Athletes or Performers Scheme (opens in a new window) and wishes them well at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

To leave a message of support, visit the Western Sydney University Paralympic Fan Zone (opens in a new window).

ENDS

25 August 2021

Ali Sardyga, Senior Media Officer