MANDURAH’S Nang Nguyen has an astonishing story.
He arrived in Australia as a 12-year-old in a wheelchair, he has represented Australia in wheelchair basketball and more recently as a power lifter at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
At the Games, he was chosen to meet Prince Charles and the Prime Minister.
At just 55kg, he is strong – really strong – and bench presses 142kgs.
At the Commonwealth Games, he and team mate Ben Wright nicknamed themselves the Dung Beetles because they “push heavy sh*t”.
Nang has lived in Mandurah for 12 months and is planning to use his skills to contribute to the community.
He is helping set up a local wheelchair basketball team and has recently started a mobile gym service specialising in helping those with a disability work out.
Nang has a qualification in community service and disability and works for a not-for-profit organisation supporting young people with autism.
When he arrived in Australia he could neither read nor write English so achieving a TAFE qualification was quite a feat.
Beyond the difficulties presented by being confined to a wheelchair after contracting polio as a child, he had also overcome a history of family neglect which at one stage left him homeless.
Nang is the City of Mandurah’s local legend for July.
The award was established to recognise and celebrate outstanding people who have made a positive, active contribution to the community and Nang is one of those people.
Mayor Rhys Williams said Nang’s story was in some parts sad and challenging given his personal and family circumstances.
“It is also a story that inspires,’’ he said.
“Despite being homeless at times, through sheer determination he reached the top of his sport – representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
“He is now making a special contribution to our community.”