Once my body recovered from that, I was 16 years old and I was then able to shape my future how I chose to.
Eliza Ault-Connell joins me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.
Eliza was a (self-described) normal kid with a pretty average childhood until she was 16.
It was then, in 1997, she contracted and nearly died from meningococcal disease.
She spent 2 weeks in a coma during which time her parents had to make the heartbreaking decision to amputate her legs to save her life.
Eliza later decided to have her fingers amputated for reasons she’ll share in this conversation.
During her recovery, Eliza was introduced to para-sports and started as a runner, before she transitioned across to wheelchair racing - and she hasn’t looked back.
She has since won 3 World Championship medals, 3 Commonwealth Games medals and placed 2nd in a demonstration event at the Athens 2004.
After a 10 year break from racing to raise a family, at the age of 36 Eliza returned to the sport to chase her Olympic dreams once more.
And just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Eliza was one of the first 4 athletes selected to represent Australia at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
In this conversation, we discuss:
* her ‘normal’ childhood and the role that sports played,
* her battle with meningococcal disease, the decision her parents made to have her legs amputated to save her life and the decision she later made to also have her fingers amputated,
* why she said it was a blessing to go through this experience at 16 years of age,
* how she was introduced to para-sport as part of her recovery,
* why she decided to get rid of her "boring beige barbie" prosthetic legs and instead wear carbon legs that “look f*cking amazing”
* why she needed to switch from running to wheelchair racing and was within 2 years, representing Australia at the 2002 Commonwealth Games,
* how COVID-19 has affected her preparation for the Tokyo Paralympics next year, and
* her experience with the Imposter Complex.
Notes and resources:
To find out more about Eliza or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram.