Visually impaired sprinter Chad Perris (WA) has his sights set on a medal winning performance at the IPC Athletics World Championships when competition commences on Thursday 22 October.
Determined to improve on his top-eight finish in Lyon (FRA) two years ago, the 23-year-old Perris, who is coached by Iryna Dvoskina, understands that a strong performance here in Doha (QAT) will set him up for a charge towards gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games next year.
“I want a medal here. That’s the main goal for me. I’ve said that before, but to actually do it would be awesome. I’ve been working toward improving on my result for two years now. If its gold, that would be amazing, but a place among the top-three would be due reward,” Perris said.
“This is just massive before Rio. I get a chance to learn about how I operate in big competition. I see this as a step up from what I expected of myself on debut a couple of years ago, and I want to come away knowing how well I can compete against guys from around the world. It’s about moving forward and being ready to go next year.”
Perris has albinism and is affectionately known as ‘The White Tiger’ among his green and gold teammates. It’s a tag that he earned playing football in his home town of Perth, but one that he now embraces.
“I love the nickname now. The footy team that I played for back home was called the Tigers and, because I’m an albino, ‘the White Tiger’ was something that the boys just started calling me,” Perris said.
“I don’t know how it came to be used in athletics, but it’s a bit of fun and I like it. I just have to live up to the tag now, hey?”
Perris’ training partner Scott Reardon (NSW) is the reigning T42 100m world champion.
A leg amputee from a farming accident and a London 2012 Paralympic Games silver medallist, the 25-year-old is determined to stand atop the dais on his own in 2015 after sharing the gold medal with his German rival Heinrich Popow at the IPC Athletics World Championships two years ago.
“I don’t want to put myself in the same situation as what I was last time. Winning the gold medal was awesome, but the circumstances that came with it is something that I won’t forget,” Reardon told the International Paralympic Committee.
“It was a high and a low and everything in between, and I definitely want to stand on that top step by myself knowing that I am absolutely, 100 per cent, the best person in the world at that particular moment.”
Perris and Reardon will be joined on track for ambulant sprinting events by Alberto Campbell (Qld, 400m), Erin Cleaver (NSW, 100m, 200m), Gabriel Cole (SA, 100m), Brianna Coop (Qld, 100m), Brayden Davidson (SA, 100m, 200m, long jump), Taylor Doyle (NSW, 100m, long jump), Jodi Elkington (NSW, 100m, long jump), Timothy Foster (NSW, 400m), Isis Holt (Vic, 100m, 200m), Torita Isaac (Qld, 200m, 400m), Ella Pardy (WA, 100m, 200m), Carly Salmon (NSW, 100m, 200m), Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW, 400m) and Sarah Walsh (NSW, 100m, long jump).
Flying the flag in the longer distances are Jaryd Clifford (Vic, 5000m), Deon Kenzie (Tas, 800m, 1500m), Brad Scott (WA, 1500m) and Athletics Australia’s Para-Athlete of the Year Michael Roeger (SA, 1500m).
Athletics Australia’s Paralympic Preparation Program Manager, Andrew Faichney, counts Perris and his fellow ambulant starters, among some of the many strong medal chances the green and gold boast here at the IPC Athletics World Championships.
Faichney is confident that the Australian Flame will, through their performances here at Doha 2015, position themselves for an impressive display at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“We have a strong team here at the IPC Athletics World Championships. There is a great mix of youth and experience, with reigning world champion Scott Reardon a big chance alongside his training partner Chad Perris and debutant Isis Holt. Angela Ballard and Michael Roeger, our Para-Athletes of the Year, are likely to do well, and you can never discount Paralympic medallists Todd Hodgetts, Carlee Beattie and Madeleine Hogan,” Faichney said.
“These championships present our team with a great opportunity to compete on the world stage less than twelve months out from the Paralympic Games. The team boasts a breadth of talented debutants who will all learn from the experience here to do bigger and better things come Rio 2016.
“If the team performs at the level it is capable, I am confident that we will see a result that rivals the thirty medal haul we won at the IPC Athletics World Championships two years ago. It won’t be easy, but I’m quietly confident of a strong showing.”
The Australian Flame team at the IPC Athletics World Championships is 48-strong, with competition set to commence on Thursday 22 October and span ten days.
By Athletics Australia