EIGHTEEN months ago, Courtney Heinze was bed-ridden, losing weight and battling a mysterious illness.
Now he is on the brink of completing a remarkable comeback by qualifying for the Commonwealth Games.
The Curtin Athletics Club thrower is heading to Queensland next week to compete at the Australian Athletics Championships, with his shot put personal best of 17.04m roughly a metre short of a B qualifier.
But it could have been all so different for Henize, who said he had all but given up on his dreams of representing his country a year and a half ago.
“I was sick and lost 24kg, I was bed ridden for a year and had a parasite called blastocystis in my stomach,” he said.
“It took the doctor six months to figure out what it was and use correct drugs to kill it.”
The Hilbert resident admitted he thought the parasite had ruined any chance of him competing at a high level again.
“I thought that was it for athletics, I came back and wanted to do it more for fun, and slowly built up my body,” he said.
“Last year, I trained for three months and then won bronze in the discus at Nationals.
“I kind of want it more than I did before, I appreciate it more than before.”
Having added 30kg since recovering from his illness, the ex-Aquinas College student said he was confident of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and realising a dream he had held since he was young.
“It would be the culmination of 12 years of training and my ultimate goal since I was 10, it has been my ultimate challenge,” he said.
“I’m pretty confident, there’s only one guy in Australia who’s qualified and there’s two spots open.
“Four of us throwing are throwing over 17m in the shot put, so it’s going to be a real battle.
“My shot put personal best is 17.04m and my discus’ 53.88m, so if I qualify for the shot put, I dare say they’d take me in the discus as well.”