Bundaberg man Bruce Gossner will travel to Berlin next month to represent Australia at the Special Olympics World Summer Games as part of the country’s athletics team.
Bruce's impressive journey to the World Games has been underway for some time, qualifying for the Australian team last October at the National Championships in Launceston.
He will be one of 64 athletes with an intellectual disability to wear the green and gold and represent Australia at the games.
Ann Gossner, Bruce's proud mother, expressed her heartfelt pride and gratitude.
“I couldn't be prouder of Bruce and his remarkable achievements,” she said.
“He has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and his dedication is truly inspiring.
“The whole community has been incredibly supportive, and we are grateful for their unwavering encouragement.
“We know that Bruce will give it his all at the Special Olympics World Games, and we will be cheering him on every step of the way.”
Bruce has been involved in athletics for just four years and has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with.
Having been involved with Special Olympics for 12 years, he has also represented Queensland in Basketball at a previous Special Olympics National Championships.
An NDIS participant with IMPACT Community Services, Bruce has been working hard to fund his participation in the games through a range of fundraising activities.
This includes collecting cans and drink bottles, which he plans to cash in at IMPACT’s Containers For Change Container Refund Point, converting recyclables into much needed funds.
Bruce's vibrant and active lifestyle reflects his ongoing pursuit of excellence.
Alongside his athletic endeavours, he participates in 10-pin bowling, weekly beep tests, one to two long runs per week, regular training sessions at the athletics track, gym workouts, and basketball training.
Chatting to Bruce, it’s clear to see that he loves what he does.
“I like meeting new friends from all over Australia,” he said.
“[On Tuesday] I was very happy to meet the Queensland Governor, Dr Jeannette Young, who presented the uniforms to Queensland athletes in the Australian team.”
IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea expressed her immense pride and admiration for Bruce's accomplishments.
“We are incredibly proud of Bruce and his outstanding achievements,” she said.
“His journey to qualify for the Special Olympics World Games is truly inspiring, and he serves as a shining example of determination and perseverance.
“Bruce's dedication to his athletic pursuits and his unwavering spirit have touched the hearts of our entire organization.
“We are standing firmly behind him, cheering him on as he represents Australia on the global stage.
“Bruce's success embodies the transformative power of sports and the indomitable spirit of our participants.
“We are honoured to be a part of his journey and remain committed to empowering individuals like Bruce to overcome barriers and achieve greatness.”
Bruce’s fundraising efforts continue both online and offline, with the final tally yet to be determined.
You can donate to help Bruce get to the Special Olympics World Games by making a tax-deductible donation here.