Golden moment for Coonamble

Paralympian Amanda Reid hopes her medal-winning efforts will inspire Aboriginal students to work hard and succeed.

01 September 2021
A young boy draped in a green and gold flag watches television.
Image: Cheer squad: Coonamble students watched as Reid cycled her way to a gold medal and world record.

When Paralympian Amanda Reid stepped on to the winner’s podium in Tokyo, students in Coonamble were claiming her as one of their own.

Reid, a former Endeavour Sports High School student, broke her own world record to win a gold medal in track cycling at the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday.

Ahead of the Games, the proud Guringai and Wemba Wemba woman forged a special relationship with students at Coonamble Public after visiting the school with SBS TV as part of the station’s Tour de France coverage.

Reid and the SBS team spent three days in the central western NSW town connecting with the students and learning about their Bikes for School program.

Coonamble Public School executive principal Annette Thomson said Reid, who had spent some of her schooling in special education, had made a special request to meet with the students from the school’s support unit.

Ms Thomson said she wanted to share her experiences as someone with a disability.

“Amanda told our students that she had found school difficult and stressed the importance of not giving up and to keep learning even when things get tough so you can succeed,” Ms Thomson said.

Reid had emphasised the importance of reading to the students and of learning, highlighting that even as an adult she was still being challenged and learning.

A young girl on a bicycle shows off an autograph on the back of her yellow shirt.
Image: Inspiration: Students were delighted to receive an autographed Australian shirt from Amanda Reid.

Since leaving Coonamble, Reid had stayed in touch with the students, zooming in to chat with them, donating books to the school and sending 13 autographed shirts.

These were delivered to the students in the lead-up to the Paralympics and the students had donned them and made a ‘good luck’ video which they had shared with her in Tokyo.

“We obviously would have been able to do more if we weren’t in lockdown, but we sent our students messages on how to watch her race, and asked them to wear green and gold,” Ms Thomson said. The students who were on site, watched the race at school.

“We got a real sense that the kids were very excited to see someone they had met winning a gold medal.

“Sometimes our kids can’t see the possibilities that are out there and for our children to see someone who is successful who has worked hard to overcome barriers is a very positive thing.”

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