Celebrating our Yooralla Paralympians: Lachlan Jones OAM story

Did you know we have multiple successful Paralympians in our Yooralla Community?

Lachlan Jones, a Yooralla residential customer, is an astounding three-time Paralympian!

Lachlan competed in Athens (2004), Sydney (2000) and won a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, earning himself a world record time of 0:19.90 and later a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

“Winning gold at the Atlanta Paralympics in the men’s T32 100m was the biggest achievement of my life,” said Lachlan, during an interview with The Big Issue – where he was the cover star!

“It could’ve been anyone’s race – but it just happened that I got to the end first – it felt awesome.

“They presented me with the medal, and I sang as the Australian anthem played. It gave me confidence that anything is possible,” said Lachlan.

Achieving the incredible feat of being an elite athlete and Paralympian requires complete and total dedication.

“Being a Paralympian was a full‐time job. I had a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport,” said Lachlan.

“I had to get up early in the morning; I was training six days a week, eating pasta and meat and veg. You have to sacrifice pretty much everything.”

Lachlan continued on after Atlanta to compete in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Paralympic games, in the T52 event – setting a personal best in Athens.

He has also for a time held the World Record for the 200, 400 and 800 metre wheelchair track events.

Lachlan’s determination shone through even when his doctors told his family, when he was a child, that he may may not walk, talk or lead any sort of normal life.

“Guess what? I ran everywhere as a child. I talked far too much. And I have tried to make the most of my abilities,” he said.

“Everyone has limits to their abilities and so do I, but not because someone said ‘No, you can’t do that’.”

“I’ve overcome many challenges, like people saying, ‘Oh no, it’s too dangerous’ or ‘You can’t do this’ – they think because I’m disabled I’m going to get hurt, but I’ve proven them wrong.”

You can watch Lachlan’s incredible race in Atlanta at the 1996 Paralympic Games on YouTube and view some of his sporting memorabilia the Australian Sports Museum.

The Tokyo Paralympics are on from 24 August – 5 September and will be broadcast live across the Seven Network.

Read more about the Australian Paralympic campaign.

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