South African-born Katja Dedekind exceeded her own expectations when she won a bronze medal on debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Having fallen in love with swimming early on, Katja turned her attention to goalball after attending a ‘Come and Try’ day in 2012. She was crowned Best Defensive Junior Player at the Australian Goalball Championships in Melbourne later that year, and in 2014 she received a $250 grant to continue chasing on-court success.

Though training and playing alongside the Australian men’s and women’s goalball teams still ranks among her greatest sporting moments to date, Katja began making waves in the pool in 2015. She was named Swimmer of the Meet for swimmers with disabilities at the Queensland Sprint Championships, and at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide, she collected three gold and five silver medals.

Under the guidance of coach David Heyden, a 14-year-old Katja came out swinging …

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Date of birth
17 August 2001
Sport
Para-swimming
Past Paralympic Games

Rio 2016

Impairment
Vision Impairment – Cataracts and amblyopia
How acquired
Congenital
Residence
Kenmore, QLD
Occupation
Student
Started competing
2012
First competed for Australia
2016
Sport career highlights

Winning three gold medals at the 2015 Pacific School Games

Greatest sporting moments

Training and playing alongside the Australian men’s and women’s goalball teams

Heroes/role models

Her mother

Disciplines

  • Sport: Para-swimming Discipline: 100m backstroke Classification: S13
  • Sport: Para-swimming Discipline: 100m freestyle Classification: S13
  • Sport: Para-swimming Discipline: 400m freestyle Classification: S13
  • Sport: Para-swimming Discipline: 50m freestyle Classification: S13

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