Five-medal haul for Bundy athlete
Athletics: Recent surgery has left inspirational Bundaberg athlete Rheed McCracken in a wheelchair – but he is not letting that get in the way of his dream to represent Australia at the 2012 Paralympics.
The 13-year-old from Bundaberg West Little Athletics club recently underwent surgery on his legs to help minimise the effects of cystic fibrosis, forcing him to use a wheelchair while he recovers.
“Nothing really slows him down,” his mother, Sam, said yesterday.
“He’s only had this surgery two weeks ago and he’s pretty much going around like normal.”
The recovery will keep Rheed off the track for up to a year.
But that is just a minor setback for Rheed, who recently added to his already ample medal collection with a strong showing at the National Primary School 12 Years and Under Track and Field Championship.
He also became the first athlete with a disability to captain Queensland, at the national championship in Sydney.
“That was a great honour,” he said.
And the young gun led from the front, winning four gold medals and a silver at the championships.
Rheed won the 100m sprint, the discus, the shot put and the long jump in the athletes with disabilities class.
He was also part of the silver medal-winning relay team.
The five-medal haul would be enough to make most 13-year-olds the biggest bragger in the schoolyard.
But not Rheed – perhaps because his performances have become so synonymous with success.
Before going to Sydney, he won another four golds at the Australian Youth Paralympics in Melbourne.
Now Rheed faces his biggest challenge: working out which sport will take him to the Paralympics in London in 2012.
“I haven’t chose yet because I don’t know which one I will dominate in yet,” he said yesterday.
“Next year I think I will do a lot more throwing events like discus and shot put.
“I’m hoping to get accepted into a development program where they can help me with my training.
“But I’ve just got to wait for my chance.”