Bundaberg’s Chris Pitt has been selected as one of three representatives heading to Tokyo as part of the Australian Paralympic shooting team.
While the past year has thrown many challenges his way, Chris has not let anything get in the road of reaching his goal of making the finals at the Tokyo Paralympics.
He made the team on bipartite invitation, which is determined by previous achievements, having not had any competitions held over the past year in light of COVID.
“It’s determined by what you have done since the Rio Paralympics and for me I had competed at 10 World Cups and made eight finals and won three medals in that time,” Chris said.
“The more you have done the more chance you have to get the invitation.
“I haven't shot in international competitions since October 2019 which means that it will have almost been two years since I have competed at this level.”
Chris said COVID was not the only hurdle he had overcome in the lead up to his Paralympic selection, as he had also faced some health issues.
After being diagnosed with tongue cancer, Chris said he had prepared harder than ever, both physically and mentally, to get himself ready for the games.
“The end of last year I was diagnosed with tongue cancer and had to have 14 hours of surgery, half my tongue removed and they did a graph to my leg and put that in,” he said.
“I then had to go through six weeks of radiation which finished at the end of January, so between not having competitions and undergoing surgery it has been a big year.”
Following this, Chris said he had been training non-stop to get back into some sort of form.
“I was that weak when I got out that I couldn’t even hold a pistol let alone shoot it,” he said.
“I have been training from the moment I came back out of hospital, but it was a race against time to get the go ahead and I am so happy that I made it.”
After attending the Rio Olympics in 2016, Chris said this year would be very different in light of COVID protocols, with everything from the ceremonies at the games to the lead up and preparation required.
“While it might not be as exciting, as we can't go to an opening or closing ceremony and we can't socialise, it is still classed as a games and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go,” he said.
“I have to go to Brisbane for two weeks to be part of the bubble before we go to Tokyo and then quarantine in Sydney for two weeks on our return so it will be mentally challenging as well.”
Chris said his goals were simple, to try to make it to the finals.
“I will shoot the best I can and always put in one hundred percent,” he said.
“I would be over the moon if I make a final.”
Chris leaves Brisbane, bound for Tokyo in late August.
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