Fremantle Hospital’s Colin Harrison to gun for Paralympic gold in Rio


Colin Harrison and his team in action.
Fremantle Hospital’s Colin Harrison to gun for Paralympic gold in Rio
Colin Harrison and his team in action.

COLIN Harrison spends most of his days like any other local; hanging out with family and friends, hitting the water on a sunny day or working at the Fremantle Hospital.

But for two weeks every four years, Harrison transforms from an everyday Australian into a Paralympian gunning for gold.

Harrison was already in love with sailing, and had been since he was a teenager, when shoulder surgery revealed he had cancer but after 18 months of treatment, he received the news he was going to lose his right arm.

“I was initially devastated but as time passes you realise that new or different opportunities come along for the taking,” he said.

“Sailing is one sport where people from all walks of life, young, old differing abilities, can enjoy, so this was not the end of sailing for me.

“I didn’t sail for several years, but it wasn’t long before the opportunity to sail keel boats came along.”

Again named in the Australian Paralympic team last week, Rio 2016 will be the fourth Paralympics for the local sailor, who is looking to add to the bronze medal he won in the mixed three-person sonar in Beijing 2008.

Harrison said he loved the challenge of using the wind and the waves in the strategic “chess like” racing game.

“I first competed for Australia in 2002, when I was mentored by Noel Robins, a Sydney 2000 gold medallist,” he said.

“He and his and other team members’ desire and commitment to be the best and represent Australia on the world stage captured my imagination.”

He said his team was capable of going a long way in the competition.

“The team is definitely capable of achieving gold,” he said.

“Having been on the podium for nearly every event since the London Paralympics, we are in the hunt.”