Quick Facts

Disability
Physical Impairment – Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita
Sport
Canoe
How acquired
Congenital
Date of Birth
April 4, 1986
Home
Bellbowrie, QLD
Occupation
Athlete
Started Competing
2014
First Competed for Australia
2014
Best World Rank

1

Games Experience

Rio 2016

Heroes

Roger Federer

Career Highlights

Being selected to compete at the 2014 ICF Para-canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow

Greatest Moment

Watching her friends compete at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney

Bio

Susan Seipel was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a rare disorder characterised by the fusion of joints and absent muscle formation in her legs. She learned to swim at the age of four as a form of physiotherapy, and between the ages of 13 and 15, held six state records, and three national age records in freestyle and backstroke.

Although swimming fuelled her competitive spirit, Susan’s real sporting passion was dressage. After learning to ride a horse at the age of seven, she set herself the goal of becoming a Paralympic champion, and in 2006, was well on her way there when she made her international debut at the Pacific Rim Para-Equestrian Dressage International Competition in Langley, Canada, where she won bronze.

The financial strain of competing in Para-equestrian led Susan to look for another sport to channel her energy into. She attended an Australian Canoeing ‘Come and Try’ Day in 2012, where she met Olympian Amanda Rankin who encouraged her to begin training in the sport.

Competing at the 2014 Australian National Championships, Susan won three races, all in personal best time, and was then selected by Australian head coach Andrea King to represent Australia at the 2014 ICF Para-canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow, where she won her heat and placed 6th in the final.

She won bronze at the 2015 ICF Para-canoe Sprint World Championships in Milan, and won the world title in the same event the following year. These results put Susan in good stead for a podium finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where she won bronze in 0:56.796.

A passionate sports fan, the Bellbowrie local is inspired by former world number one tennis player Roger Federer, and has recently begun playing wheelchair tennis.

She also loves to travel, citing Egypt as her favourite holiday destination to date. With a promising Para-canoe career ahead of her, there’s no doubt that Susan will have the chance to see much more of the world yet.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Canoe Disciplines: 200m Sprint Classification: KL2