KEEPING IT REAL: Tamsin’s Story, Part Two

Fri 15 Dec 2023

KEEPING IT REAL: Tamsin’s Story, Part Two*

By Tamsin Colley

What achievements are you proudest of?

It is hard to just pick one achievement that I’m the proudest of. My most recent proud achievement was competing in the 2023 IFCPF Asia-Oceania Championships with the ParaMatildas, which is Australia’s Female CP Football team. I even managed to score a hat trick on debut at this tournament, which means 3 goals in my first international football game! Earlier this year, I also came first in the Women’s 3km Para at the National Cross-Country Championships, and 2nd in the 400m at the National Athletics Championships so I’m very proud of my achievements in all three sports this year!

Other proudest moments include becoming the Youngest Ever Australian Track & Field Paralympian at the Rio 2016 Paralympics when I was 14, as well as winning medals at the 2017 World Junior Para-Athletics Championships, Melanesian Athletics Championships, Arafura Games and Oceania Athletics Championships! In 2019, I was selected for the senior World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai and came eighth in both my 200m T36 and the 4x100m universal relay team. Then in 2020, I was proud to be chosen to re-light the cauldron for the 20-year anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to represent the future of the Australian Paralympic movement.

Away from sport, an achievement I’m proud of was graduating high school with a score of above 90 and coming first in my year in both biology and PDHPE. I did my final year of school over two years to reduce the load because of my sporting commitments and disability, and I’m so grateful I made that decision. My high score meant I got into my dream course of Exercise Physiology at the University of New South Wales, and I’m also very proud of getting High Distinctions in all my subjects so far at university. I enjoy proving people wrong when they think people with disabilities can’t succeed academically, and wrote an article about this that got published in some local newspapers which you can read here.

How did you get into sports and what is your favourite thing about your sport?

I first got into sport when I was about six and my mum took me to a local disability come-and-try day. Due to her physio background, she knew it was important for me to do exercise to improve my rehabilitation so was always looking out for opportunities for me which I am so grateful for. I later tried football in a local disability team but since it wasn’t specifically catered for people with cerebral palsy yet, I decided to stick to individual sports for a bit. When I was ten, I was old enough to compete at school carnivals and progressed to state and even national level in athletics and cross country, breaking some records for my classification along the way!

I enjoy reflecting on my sporting journey over the past 10-15 years. I still love competing and hope to do so for many more years. My favourite part about sport is competing and training with people with disabilities who share a common interest with me. Sport can help people with disabilities in so many ways, physically and socially, so I like to encourage everyone with a disability to give sport a go. I started doing this at 17 when I organised a disability athletics carnival with an adult mentor as part of my school’s Youth Frontiers program. I am now an ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Sporting and Recreation Association of NSW and help organise multi-sport social days for people with a disability!

Catch up with part one and stay tuned for part three next week!

*Tamsin's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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