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Cole makes Paralympic dream a reality
Ambulant sprinter Gabriel Cole (SA) lists his appearance in the T46 100m final at the Commonwealth Games as a dream come true, but with the 20-year-old set to make his Paralympic debut in London his biggest dream is about to become a reality.
Born with a minor deficiency in his left arm, Cole, who will join fellow Australian Simon Patmore (QLD) on the start line at the 2012 Paralympic Games, hopes the lessons learned in New Delhi two years ago have introduced him to the rigours of being an elite athlete.
Cole said: “The Commonwealth Games were unbelievable, it gave me an opportunity to represent my country on a huge stage in a big team and it for sure gave me a taste of what could come. It opened my world to what it’s like to be a serious athlete and as a learning curve I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“Simon and I have a great friendly rivalry, we compete in similar events all the time. If he goes down in London, it will be the first time I’ve beaten him so watch out big guy.
“Seriously though it’s just amazing to have such a strong athlete to compete against in my own ambulant categories in Australia. Not everyone has that and we both benefit from it.”
Cole’s selection to the Commonwealth Games also ensured his induction to the Australian Flame, with this honour for the first time to be bestowed on a Paralympic athletics squad.
Established to instill the spirit of a team on Australia’s track and field charges, Cole sees the benefit of bringing so many individual athletes under one united banner.
Cole continued: “It’s fantastic that the whole team this year will be inducted into the Australian Flame as well. Australians are renowned for getting behind teams like the Socceroos and the Boomers so to have that camaraderie between athletes heading into the Games is awesome.
“We really are capable of anything as a unit and I know the medal tally will reflect that.”
Cole entered the world of Paralympic sport in 2009 after being recommended to coach Stephen Butler, making his Australian debut as a Year 12 student at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he placed 7th (11.92) in the T46 100m final.
His Paralympic build-up has included confidence boosting performances of a gold and silver medal at the 2011 German Athletics Championships, as well as the national ambulant 100m crown at the Australian Athletics Championships in April this year.
Cole said: “I just really want to crack the 11-second mark in London. It’s been my aim since missing the world championships last year with injury and if I can do that then I hope to be in the mix for medals.
“I couldn’t ask for a better relationship with my coach Steve. He has been a big part of my life as late, talking daily and fast becoming a kind of second father style relationship.”
The 2012 Paralympic Games will be the 15th Paralympics, the second to be hosted in Great Britain after Stoke Mandeville in 1984 and the first to be staged in London.
An estimated 4200 athletes and officials from 165 countries will compete across 20 sports at the Games.
By Athletics Australia