Xavier fights for Games swimming spot
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
GLADSTONE swimmer Xavier Player has further stoked the flames in his stomach as he eyes off a spot in the Australian Paralympic Games team for Beijing in 2008.
Player, 17, has recently returned from the Commonwealth Games trials in Melbourne where he reached his first national open finals in the 400 me- tre freestyle and 100m breaststroke multi-disability events.
Although aiming to reach the finals in both events, Player said he had not considered either as a given and so was thrilled to qualify after his heats.
'(The results are) good motivators for me,'' Player said. "I'm aiming for next Paralympics.'
Player, who suffers from right-sided cerebral palsy, touched the wall in eighth spot in the 400m freestyle in 5min32.81sec and finished seventh in the 100m breastroke in 1:48.21.
Although he did not make the Games team while in Melbourne, Player did manage a win when he discov- ered, via a phone call from Mum Den- ise, that he had received the Gladstone City Council junior sports award at an Australia Day ceremony.
Player earned the award for his su- perb 2005, during which he won a gold medal at the Queensland age champi- onships; silver and bronze at the state sprints titles; and competed at the Pa- cific School Games.
'I wasn't expecting to win it', Play- er said, adding that the honour was 'pretty high up' in his list of career achievements.
'It shows that I've been recognised for my efforts and that peo- ple are taking notice.'
Player said the acknoweledgement helped make what can be a lonely sport, featuring many hours of indi- vidual training, more rewarding.
Player is now training for this month's Queensland multi-disability titles and the world disabled champi- onships and FESPIC (Far East and South Pacific Games) to be staged this year.