Home' Army News : May 26th 2011 Contents Wheelchair-bound warrant officer maxes Paralympic medal count in track events
ON A ROLL: WO2 Dennis Ramsay puts everything into the 5000m wheelchair event at the Arafura Games to
ultimately take home the silver medal.
Photo by Cpl Glen McCarthy
Army SPECIAL LIFTOUT May 26, 2011
tries every sport he can
Setting the standard
GAMES 2011 Just saying that someone is missing a limb and they can't
function any more is a misconception.
PTE CLINT VARDY
CPL ZENITH KING
IN SEARCH of an international
classification, WO2 Dennis Ramsay
competed in a massive five events
at the Arafura Games and Oceania
In doing so, he finished with three
silver medals in the Oceania champi-
onships (5000m and 1500m wheel-
chair events and seated javelin) and
a silver and bronze in the Arafura
Games in the 5000m and 1500m
"I have had a very successful com-
petition and I am extremely happy
with the results," he said.
"I have only been training for a
while so I came up here to get a clas-
sification and see where I'm at."
WO2 Ramsay said the 5000m was
difficult as he was still learning the
technique and was in the early stages
of using racing chairs.
"It was very challenging but you
don't quit. I put my name down for it
so I just had to power through as best
Having previously competed in
wheelchair basketball, WO2 Ramsay
said the Arafura Games had allowed
him to assess his abilities over a num-
ber of activities.
"I have found out my strong points.
I'm a thrower, but I will keep the rac-
ing as an extra activity."
WO2 Ramsay said the Australian
Defence Force Paralympic Sports
Program was important to his success.
"The Paralympic sports program
gives us support, we are part of a team,
a group and the ADF.
"We watch each other and talk
about how we are coping, what we can
do and what we can't do, and we all
motivate and help each other out."
After his success at the Arafura
Games WO2 Ramsay said he would go
back and reassess and retrain himself.
"Now that I know where my
strengths lie, I can go back, train and
hopefully be able to come back in a
couple of years and improve."
For the first time, ADF ath-
letes with disabilities competed at
the games, which incorporates the
Oceania Paralympic Championships.
CPL ZENITH KING
PTE Clint Vardy competed in eight
events including swimming and run-
ning and long jump for a mammoth
Arafura Games effort.
"After coming here I can see what
sports I am competitive in and where
my natural ability lies," he said.
"This is my first international meet
and there has been some strong com-
"I put down some good times on
the track and feel I'm building a good
fitness base and am progressively
Since competing in the 50m free-
style and the 50m and 100m breast-
stroke, Pte Vardy said he was getting
an idea for what he enjoyed.
"I have realised that swimming is
not for me, I'm going to get black line
fever from chasing it up and down the
pool," he said.
"But with a little bit of training
and maybe 12 months to work on
my fitness, I can improve my track
times and may even qualify for the
Over a four-day period, Pte Vardy
competed in swimming during the day
and athletics in the evening and by
day four it was taking its toll.
"I'm hurting after doing so many
kilometres in the pool and on the
track," he said.
"When you consider that you
are going to do an 800m event, your
warm up is about 2km, so they quick-
ly build up."
After losing his arm in a motor
bike accident in 2007, Pte Vardy's life
has completely changed.
"I was always fit and healthy and
into sport. Since losing my arm I have
kept my physical fitness and even
completed the combat fitness leaders
"If you want something, you are
going to go and get it. It takes a while
to get your momentum going just like
any other injury."
Pte Vardy said that he and the other
members of the Australian Defence
Paralympic Sports Program were try-
ing to set a precedent.
"Just saying that someone is miss-
ing a limb and they can't function any
more is a misconception," he said.
"When you lose a limb you go
through the same grieving process as
losing someone close to you and peo-
ple don't realise that.
"My biggest motivation has been
spite -- I was told that I was medically
unfit because I couldn't pass the BFA,
so six months later I did more than 40
one-handed pushups to pass."
Pte Vardy said being successful
was about having goals.
"An event like this provides short-
term goals. I will go back and have
the extra motivation to keep going;
otherwise you start losing motivation
and lose direction.
"In the three years since I lost my
arm the Army has come a long way.
"There is a bloke here who has lost
his leg and it's not doom and gloom
"The worst thing now is that he is
going to have to change his mustering
and that can be a huge hit.
"He has lost his original career but
he still has a job and although your
life has changed it hasn't ruined it."
TAKING ON THE TRACK: Pte Clint Vardy competes in the 400m track race
among a total of eight Arafura Games events he entered. Inset, Pte Vardy
goes all out in the long jump.
Photos by Cpl Glen McCarthy and Cpl Zenith King
count in track
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