After a year of ups and downs, Bundaberg’s Rheed McCracken is headed to Tokyo to compete in the 2021 Paralympic Games.
Competing in the 100m and 800m sprints, this will be his third Paralympic Games having competed previously in both the London and Rio Games.
While there has been no lack of challenges in the lead up to the games, Rheed said he is excited to be putting on the green and gold again and representing Australia.
“The thing I am looking forward to the most is being able to represent Australia again, wear the uniform with pride and put in my best performance,” Rheed said.
“These games will be extremely restrictive compared to previous years but I am okay with that because at the end of the day I am grateful we can go and compete.
“The games are going to go ahead so we are full steam ahead with preparation and ready to go, we have everything in place and we are really excited for it.”
Having won silver in the past, Rheed’s main goal in Tokyo is to take the next step up to the gold medal.
“In the past few games, I have just come up short with the silver medal in the 100m so for me it is that step up and the gold medal,” he said.
“I would love to take that top step and we have put absolutely everything we have into it so what will be will be.”
Rheed said the biggest challenge will be the unknown, not having been able to compete in an international competition since 2019 means no one is sure just where the benchmark sits for these games.
“Usually, we would have a range of competitions to prepare, but we are going into the unknown and we have no idea how ready anyone else is or how ready we are,” he said.
“My last international major event was in 2019 at world championships in Dubai and I was able to win silver.
“We can sit here and say we are as ready as we can be but we don’t know what the rest of the world is doing so we are just trying to get as fit and ready as possible.”
The 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games start on Tuesday 24 August.
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