Others' ideas biggest hurdle

By Melissa Wishart

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Chris Ross competed in the London 2012 Paralympics as well as the world championships in Los Angeles. Photo/Supplied
Chris Ross competed in the London 2012 Paralympics as well as the world championships in Los Angeles. Photo/Supplied

Paralympian cyclist Chris Ross will be coming to Wanganui to speak at May Day 2014 - though he hasn't put pen to paper yet for his speech.

The athlete credits "natural talent, good looks and charisma" with getting him into racing, but says his main message to others living with disabilities will be motivation.

May Day (Disability May Affect You Day) is being held on May 9 for the 12th year running at the War Memorial Centre in Watt St.

Mr Ross, 25, who was born with part of his left arm missing below the elbow, said what motivated him was the need to prove a point.

He said the biggest challenge of living with a disability was other people's attitudes.

"People think you're restricted and confined," he said.

"I've seen guys with no legs and no arms doing things I couldn't do.

"You can do more than what they believe you can. That's what I believe."

Mr Ross was picked up by the Paralympics New Zealand Xcellerate to Xcellence programme in 2009.

"We did a series of tests and they said 'you've got some natural ability'," he said.

He competed at the 2012 London Paralympics as well as the world champs in Los Angeles. He also has a Master's degree in planning from Otago University.

He raced in the C5 category, which included people with upper-body disabilities.

While Mr Ross never had to adjust to living without a limb, having been born without it, he said learning to ride a bike was "rather interesting".

Adjusting for weight, balance, "delivery with power" and using gears was all a learning experience, and there were several modifications to be made on the bike.

During his speech at May Day, he planned to outline what motivated him, his skills, and the different aspects he learned along the way.

"I have a personal willpower to prove people wrong," he said.

"I like to do the best I can do. I don't go in 50 per cent, I generally go in 120 per cent."

Having a point to prove gave him a "motivation drive".

He encouraged people with disabilities to go along on the day and listen to him speak.

"You might as well give it a go," he said.

"You're not losing anything."

Anyone interested in attending this event will need to register with the Whanganui Disability Resources Centre, phone 347 1176.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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