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He has represented Australia in rowing and basketball, but Paralympian, Erik Horrie, said nothing makes him more proud than being Australian.
Horrie has recently been named the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s official Australia Day Ambassador for the City’s 2018 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony.
"It’s an honour to be named the Australia Day Ambassador for Canterbury-Bankstown. I’m so grateful to be a part of such a significant day in such a diverse City," Horrie said.
"No matter who you are or where you come from, one of the best parts about Australia Day is seeing how we all come together to celebrate living in the best country."
At the age of 21, Horrie was involved in a head-on car accident, which left him paraplegic. But despite the uphill battle ahead of him, he said he never lost faith in his ability to recover.
"It hasn’t always been easy. Like everyone, you have your good and your bad days, but my bad days were made better by my support system - my family, friends and my partner, Michelle," Horrie said.
It was with the support of his partner that Horrie began playing basketball – catching the eye of national selectors while playing in the National Wheelchair Basketball League, which won his team, the Rollers, gold at the 2009 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s Oceania Championships.
After conquering basketball, Horrie moved onto rowing in 2010, and for the past seven years, has gone from strength-to-strength mastering the sport.
"A highlight so far would have to be winning a silver medal in the Arms Shoulders Men’s Single Scull at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. There is no way 10 years ago I would have even dreamed of winning a medal, and here I am with a couple," Horrie said.
One of the biggest life lessons Horrie said he carried with him was "never take anything for granted".
"Having my accident at such a young age truly taught me to never give up and to keep fighting, and I think a lot of Australians have the same mentality, which is inspiring to see," he said.
Next year, Horrie said he was focused on preparing for the Tokyo Paralympics.
"It might be three years away, but it’s never too early to start training," he said.
Mayor, Khal Asfour, said the City was lucky to have someone of Mr Horrie’s calibre at next year’s Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony.
27/12/2017 2:28 PM