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Vision impairment - Choroideremia
Hereditary degenerative eye disease
Date of Birth
Student - massage therapy
First Competed for Australia
Running at the 2011 World Championships
Making the First Eight for rowing in the Head of the River
After taking up running at the end of 2009, Western Australia’s Sam Harding is in good company, training with the likes of Beijing Paralympians Evan O’Hanlon, Michael Roeger and Brad Scott under the strict guidance of Paralympic track coach Iryna Dvoskina at the AIS in Canberra.
Sam has a rare hereditary eye disease called Choroideremia, which has deteriorated most of his peripheral vision.
Originally a tandem cyclist who competed for Western Australia, he dreamt of cycling in the velodrome at the London Paralympic Games. Instead his focus turned to running after competing at the 2009 Paralympic Youth Games in Melbourne in the 400m, 800m and 1500m, where he won three gold medals. Identified by the APC’s Paralympic Talent Search Program, Sam was fast-tracked to a talent development camp in Canberra before moving to the AIS.
After winning bronze in the 800m at the 2010 National Championships, his progress at the AIS was underlined when he was named as part of the Australian athletics team for the first time at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships. He performed well, making the final of the 800m and placing fifth. Sam recorded the same fifth place finish in the 800m at the 2011 German Nationals to suggest he is tracking nicely for London 2012.
Sam sees his coach, Evan O’Hanlon and retired Paralympian Heath Francis as the most influential people on his athletic career. As well as running and cycling, Sam also competed in rowing while he was at school, making the First Eight at his school.
When he’s not training, Sam loves going home to Western Australia to spend time with his family and friends and enjoy some home cooking. He relaxes by spending time at the beach and listening to music. He has completed a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy and plans to use this qualification in years to come.
Sport & Disciplines