Quick Facts

How acquired
Car accident
Physical Impairment – Incomplete paraplegia
Date of Birth
October 9, 1975
Bilambil Heights, NSW
Police officer
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia

Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC

Career Highlights

Winning the ITU World Championships in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, second in the Hawaiian Ironman in 2013

Greatest Moment

Winning the 2013 ITU World Championships in London, despite being behind in the swim and bike sections of the race


Four-time Para-triathlon world champion Bill Chaffey has been primed and ready for Rio since it was announced that the sport would be included in the Paralympic program.

Originally from Tamworth, Bill made his start in triathlon as an able-bodied athlete. Having played sport all of his life, when a friend jokingly suggested he take up the multi-sport, he thought he should give it a go. In 2005, he qualified for an Ironman competition but five days before the race, he was hit from behind by a truck while training on his bike.

Breaking four vertebrae, suffering an open book pelvic fracture and two broken elbows, Bill found himself paralysed from the hip down. After five months in hospital, Bill got in touch with Paralympic great John Maclean, the man who made history by becoming the first wheelchair athlete to finish the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon. Paralysed in a similar accident, John offered Bill the inspiration he needed to get back into sport and move on with his new life.

Eager to get back into sport, Bill learnt to swim with one leg and bought a racing chair to get involved in wheelchair racing. The natural progression was to get a handcycle and return to triathlon.

Three years later, he won the 2008 Gold Coast Half Ironman and qualified for the 2009 ITU Para-triathlon World Championships. Wearing green and gold for the first time, he also won his first world title.

On the top of the podium from the beginning of his international career, Bill went on to win again in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Despite the 2013 world title being his fourth, he says it is his greatest achievement because he has never had to push himself so hard. Behind in the swim and cycling components, Bill went on to win, with his next opponent 300m behind him.

Forced out of the 2014 World Championships in Canada after a freakish training accident on the NSW north coast left him with two broken bones in his pelvis, Bill made his return to international competition at the 2015 Oceania Para-triathlon Championships in Sydney, winning his class.

Since it was announced that Para-triathlon would make its Paralympic debut at Rio, Bill has shifted his focus and his goal is now to win a Paralympic gold, and help Australia create a name for itself in the sport at the highest level. In 2011 after winning his world title, he was the first Para-triathlete to be accepted into the AIS triathlon program, and he is now training under QAS head coach Stephen Moss.

Outside of sport, Bill works as a police officer and loves spending any spare time he has with his wife Vanessa and his two daughters Heidi and Amity. He says if he ever came down to his last $10, he would spend it on a block of dark chocolate and a coffee with a dollop of cream.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Triathlon Disciplines: Men - PT1 Classification: PT1M