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Sport has always been a significant part of Aimee Fisher’s life. Growing up she was involved with gymnastics and dancing, but also competed at state level in athletics and participated in aerobics. When Aimee was just 16 year’s old, a fall during routine gymnastics training left her a paraplegic. Determined to regain her independence, she powered through rehab in record time and returned home to focus on her main passion: sports.

Talking to a doctor in the ICU, Aimee remembered a talk that wheelchair racer Christie Dawes had given at her school about a month before her accident.

“It first sparked my interest to look into the way sports I had previously engaged in could be adapted,” Aimee said.

“To know it was something I could return to was very motivating.”

Bouncing back

That motivation spurred Aimee on. Just six weeks after her injury, she sat in a racing chair supplied by Wheelchair Sports NSW for the first time and said it gave her back a sense of normalcy she hadn’t had since her accident.

“The support I had then and since from my coaches, mentors and staff – and other athletes in wheelchairs – has been invaluable,” Aimee said.

Since her accident in 2018, Aimee has completed her HSC and is studying medical sonography in Sydney, training hard five days a week as well. Her sporting achievements are numerous.

“I’m the 2021 Australian champion for the 200m wheelchair open, and I also came 3rd in the 100m wheelchair open and 2nd in the 200m wheelchair open,” Aimee said.

Aimee started aiming for a qualifying time for the Tokyo Paralympics towards the end of 2019, and says her personal best is currently about a second off the qualifying time.

“My goals for the next few years are to focus on improving my technique, speed and power to bring my times down,” she explained.

“I also want to qualify for a World Championships and for the next Paralympics in Paris in 2024.”

Why funding is so important

Athletes like Aimee know just how important grants and funding are to organisations such as Wheelchair Sports NSW. The Charitable Foundation provided funding for four specialised racing wheelchairs, the same that Aimee used when she was recovering and exploring her sporting options as a paraplegic.

“Wheelchair Sports NSW / ACT gave me the opportunity to get started in wheelchair racing,” Aimee said.

“Their mentoring clinic run as part of the Summer Down Under series meant I could try racing through the use of a chair purchased with the funding from Charitable Foundation.

” What’s next for Aimee? Aimee has since purchased her own chair and is part of the NSWIS and the Athletics Australia NASS Scheme.

“I’m training with the goal to compete on Australian teams,” Aimee said. “Funding for these types of programs is incredibly important. They provide the means for aspiring para athletes to enter sports.”

Para athletics is exactly the same as able-bodied athletics, except with specialised equipment based on the type of impairment the athlete has.

“The specialised equipment required is expensive and personalised, making it difficult to try sports without having access to groups like Wheelchair Sports – so funding provides the means to support aspiring athletes,” Aimee said.

Wheelchair Sports NSW continues to run its northern region track and athletics program for athletes of all ages and abilities.

In 2021, the Charitable Foundation provided a new grant to Wheelchair Sports NSW expand wheelchair basketball opportunities across regional NSW.

About Wheelchair Sports

Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT is a charitable organisation with a mission to change the lives of people living with a disability through participation in sport. Their vision is that everyone in NSW and the ACT should be able to enjoy sport together. Wheelchair Sports core values represent dignity, tenacity, camaraderie and resilience.

The organisation is recognised by many as the leading disability sports organisation in Australia.