Gladstone stars shine in Beijing



AS Gladstone's Rhiannon Oliver makes her bid for Paralympic glory, one of Gladstone's favourite sons is also in Beijing, not as an athlete this time, but in an advisory capacity.

Dr Brendan Burkett who is the Sports Scientist for the Australian team lived in Gladstone and was educated here before attending university in Rockhampton and Brisbane.

He was a four-time Paralympian, representing Australia and medalling at the Paralympics in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.

Since his retirement from competitive swimming in 2000, Brendan has been actively involved in encouraging disabled sports people, all part of his position as Associate Professor of Sports Medicine at the Sunshine Coast University.

Brendan is an inspiration to anyone who has suffered the trauma of a going from able-bodied person with keen sporting interest, to that of a disabled athlete.

Brendan was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident in 1985, the day he graduated from Central Queensland University.

The accident happened on December 21, and by New Year's Day 1986 Brendan's leg had been amputated and he had to start life again.

He turned to swimming. His success was such over the years, that in 2000 he carried the flag for his country in Sydney.

"It gives you such a feeling of satisfaction that you achieved what you have been aiming to do for several years," he said.



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