Gavin Bellis

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Quick Facts

Spino cerebellar ataxia
How acquired
Date of Birth
Sun, 11/11/1973
Caulfield, VIC
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
His brother
Career Highlights
Winning gold at the 2012 World Cup 3 in Munich
Greatest Moment
Australia winning the America’s Cup


Gavin Bellis has rocketed through his rowing career at lightning fast speed to earn a place at his first Paralympic Games, just over a year since he first competed internationally in rowing.

As Kathryn Ross’ double sculls partner, Gavin’s brute physical force combined with Kathryn’s technique makes for an explosive combination. At their first international competition together, the pair won silver at the Gavirate International Regatta in Italy while Gavin won bronze in the single boat. The pair then backed it up with gold at the Italian National Championships and gold at the World Cup 3 in Munich.

In 2004, Gavin was working as a diesel mechanic with the Australian Army when he was diagnosed with a hereditary disease, spinocerebellar ataxia, which, among other things, affects his coordination and balance. A year later he was medically discharged from the army and decided to try his hand at rowing only to find he not only enjoyed it but was also pretty good.

Having contacted the APC about opportunities in the sport, Gavin was encouraged to continue more seriously and within two years found himself training at the AIS.

Before rowing, Gavin played rugby union and coached the Riverina Army Rugby Union Club. Having since given up rugby due to his disability, he enjoys watching the game as well as sailing and fulfilling his duties of a father to two children in his spare time.

Sport & Disciplines

Sport: Rowing
Disciplines: Mixed double sculls
Classification: TA