Tristan Knowles lost his leg to cancer as a nine-year-old, and then a lung at 11 due to a recurrence of the illness, and today, his fierce drive and fighting spirit has seen him carve out a successful career in wheelchair basketball both in Australia and abroad.

Desperately searching for an Aussie Rules equivalent, Tristan’s dad contacted the Australian Institute of Sport to learn about the sorts of opportunities available to Tristan in Para-sport. On discovering wheelchair basketball, his ascension in the sport was meteoric.

Making his Paralympic debut in 2004, Tristan and the Rollers won four of their five preliminary matches to qualify for the quarter-finals. Defeating Germany 79-60 and Great Britain 64-52, they met Canada in the gold medal match to ultimately bag silver. At Beijing 2008 the Rollers managed to go one better, overcoming long-time adversary Canada 60-72 to win gold.

Central to the team’s success, Tristan …

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Date of birth
25 April 1983
Wheelchair basketball
Past Paralympic Games

Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016

Physical Impairment – Left above-knee limb loss
How acquired
Spotswood, VIC
Started competing
First competed for Australia
Sport career highlights

Winning gold at the 2010 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Birmingham, England

Greatest sporting moments

Kieran Perkins winning gold from lane eight at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta

Heroes/role models

Jason Dunstall and Dermott Brereton


  • Sport: Wheelchair basketball Classification: 4.0

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