GORDON Lee and Matteo Battista are two local men who have reached the pinnacle of their respective sports.
A 27-time state motocross champion, Mr Battista was ranked as high as 20th in the world and was representing the Coastal Motorcycle Club in local, state and national competitions until an accident in 2008 ended his career and left him a T5 paraplegic.
But he doesn’t let that stop him.
“I originally raced BMX as a kid and some family friends from BMX also did motocross, so I gave it a go and found my thing,” he said.
“I enjoyed the feeling of pushing myself and finding the limit, and when you get the package right, there is no better feeling when you and the bike are as one.
“I got back on my road race bike in 2011 – first it was just to get back on the bike to show it hadn’t beaten me, but I learnt to adapt and started racing again and even won a couple of races from starting at the back of the grid.
“I have only recently gotten back on a motocross bike and I am enjoying the new challenge.”
Despite being 79, Gordon Lee hasn’t slowed down as a table tennis player.
The Fremantle Table Tennis Club president and former 40-year Spearwood resident has been ranked number one in Australia and still competes in national and international competitions.
“I never thought I would ever play the game again after being ranked about four in the state as an 18-year-old,” he said.
“It was 45 years later at age 65 that I played a social game in a tavern and got the bug.
I had to start all over again at the bottom and it took five to six years of getting coached, playing intensively, honing skills, getting fit and buying the right equipment.”
Both men have been recognised for their contributions to their sports, becoming the latest inductees into the City of Cockburn’s Sports Hall of Fame, where they join names like Glen Jakovich, Kevin Allen, Val Norris and Alan Beale.
They were also the first to be inducted to the brand-new Sports Hall of Fame, which was launched at Cockburn ARC on Wednesday.
Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett said it would also include an interactive touch-screen kiosk to give users information on each inductee, which is due to be installed later this financial year.