Parathlete takes the first steps towards her Olympic dream

Paralympic hopeful Alex Eves. ▪ Contributed

Having a goal of competing at the Olympics has helped local woman Alex Eves to get through her rehabilitation following a serious car accident two years ago.

Alex is now one step closer to her dream after having finished 4th in her 100 metres sprint at the NSW Open and Para State Championships in Homebush last weekend.

She also placed 6th in her 200m sprint.

Matt Rawlings, Athletics NSW’s Target Talent Program Coach for Parathletes, said Alex is a relative newcomer to track and field, and only registered to compete six weeks ago.

Alex (who is classified as a T36 parathlete) competed at State in the 100m and 200m sprints in a mixed disability race.

“Each category of each disability has a world record; the closer you get to it the lower percentage you are awarded,” Matt explained.

“The time equates to a percentage off the world record and a person’s level of disability is also factored into the final calculation.

“There’s spreadsheets and computers to work it out. Basically each athlete is racing against the stopwatch rather than the other people in their race,” he said.

In her 100m Alex finished 4th and was 0.01 per cent off a bronze medal and was 6th after calculations in her 200m.

Alex’s car accident in February 2016 left her with head and neck injuries which also have had an impact on the rest of her body.

She’s undergone a number of surgeries and various forms of rehabilitation to get her back into shape.

“This will continue for the foreseeable future,” Alex said.

Before her accident Alex was a very fit woman who was always at the gym and a regular competitor at triathlon events.

“I’ve had medical and allied health staff tell me that my level of fitness before the accident, gave me a really good starting base into rehabilitation and that has helped me move faster towards recovery.”

Alex’s original goal was to run 5km at the Olympics however there was no 5km event in her T36 classification, and so with the help of local coach, John Barnes, she’s switched her focus to sprints.

Training sessions are intense—4-5 days per week for 45-60 minutes and John has had to make modifications due to the balance/coordination discomfort that was caused by Alex’s accident.

In addition to straight line running, he’s been focusing on core strength, coordination, leg and arm drills, hill sprints and hydrotherapy.

“Through this commitment and perseverance Alex benefited a lot towards her recovery and current form,” John said.

Alex said her main focus now is to recover after her next surgery in March.

“Then I’ll keep focusing on completing my rehabilitation and on/off season fitness to build a strong base for next season which begins around November 2018.

“This will then lead into State and National events in 2019,” Alex said.