Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Spastic quadriplegia & dystonia
How acquired
Autoimmune encephalitis (neural virus)
Date of Birth
August 27, 1982
West Pennant Hills, NSW
Athlete and employee at Script Mobility Equipment
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

London 2012

Career Highlights

Bronze and silver medals in the 100m and 200m finals at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon

Greatest Moment

Bronze medal in the 100m T34 final at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London


When Rosemary Little was 12-years-old she contracted a form of autoimmune encephalitis, causing idiopathic spastic quadriplegia and generalised dystonia. She does not recall anything that occurred between the ages of 12 and 18, and in that time she relearned all of the skills she had developed up until that point.

After attending a Wheelchair Sports NSW ‘Come and Try’ day in 2003, Rosemary found wheelchair racing, but devastatingly, was 0.02 seconds short of qualifying for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Following this defeat and a bout of illness, she took a hiatus from the sport and did not return to it until the back end of 2011.

In 2011 Rosemary endured another setback when she competed in the City2Surf and collided with another athlete, severely damaging the right disc wheel of her chair. She had to raise the $8,000 required to purchase a new one before she could continue her preparation for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

During the 2012 Australian athletics season, Rosemary competed on the annual Summer Down Under wheelchair circuit, setting a new world record in the 100m and 200m T33 events, and cementing her place on the 2012 Australian Paralympic team. Guided by her coach, multiple Paralympic gold medallist, Louise Sauvage, Rosemary contested the 100m and 200m T34 events, taking home bronze in the 100m final. Rosemary lists this as her greatest sporting moment to date.

At the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, Rosemary’s efforts to improve were palpable. Despite the spasms in her hands affecting her performance over short distances, the Australian and Oceania record holder collected bronze and silver in the 100m and 200m finals.

Rosemary was again selected to represent Australia at the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2015 in Doha, Qatar. She was looking forward to toppling reigning European champion and current world record holder, Hannah Cockroft, but was admitted to hospital before the competition kicked off.

Rosemary is multi-talented. She has represented Australia in handcycling, achieved a qualifying time in rowing, and is working towards completing an occupational therapy degree at Sydney University. The West Pennant Hills local also currently holds an ambassadorial role with The Hills School in Northmead, and assists people with multiple disabilities learn to live independently.

Her equipment is now supplied by Invacare Australia and New Zealand, in an effort to help Rosemary to realise her dream of Paralympic gold.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 100m Classification: T34
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 400m Classification: T34
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 800m Classification: T34