After narrowly missing out on competing at the Paralympics in Rio, discus thrower Natalie will be cheering on her fellow para-athletes as she trains for the 2017 World Athletic Championships in London.
Natalie, whose day job is providing services to customers from a Department of Human Services smart centre in Perth, was born with the rare Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, which resulted in a below-the-knee amputation of her right leg at age ten.
“It was a joke with my husband in 2013 that got me started on this journey as an athlete,” Natalie says.
“I heard about a Paralympic talent search event here in Perth, and laughed with him that I should give it a go.
“I went along for some fun, but with some encouragement from other athletes and coaches, we discovered I had some talent in discus.”
It wasn’t long before Natalie was training more seriously to develop her talent, and the results came quickly.
She’s now ranked first in Australia and thirteenth in the world.
Natalie is keen to compete on the world stage and is now honing her training with a sports psychologist to help maximise her performance under pressure.
“I can reach the qualifying distances, but the nerves on the day are what have held me back previously, so I’m working on techniques to get better at that, and hopefully I’ll be off to London next year.”
Reflecting on living with disability, there’s no denying Natalie’s up-beat outlook.
“I’m lucky in a way as I’ve always had something wrong with my leg, so it’s normal for me. Some people say, ‘You poor love’, but I just get on with it. People underestimate me.”
Good luck to you, Natalie!