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Beyond the law: Podium finish

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A competitive streak keeps Ben Patrick on top of his game at work and in the world sporting arena.

Whether the Holding Redlich senior associate is litigating in software disputes or preparing a gruelling training program, Ben Patrick’s competitive drive is usually working overtime.

Growing up he represented Australia in white water slalom – navigating a canoe through dangerous rapids as fast as possible.

Now, the new father cycles up to 200 kilometres a week, training for a multi-day adventure race or charity bike ride. Plus, he coaches Paralympic and Olympic athletes. His current star charge is Melbourne-based national handcycling champion Stuart Tripp.

While this month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games Para-Sport Program does not include Mr Tripp’s H4 classification, Mr Patrick will be closely watching the latest tactics employed by the world’s best cyclists as he and Mr Tripp prepare for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

“Stuart is training 2000 kilometres a month and if he continues this form he is a sure thing for Rio,” Mr Patrick said.

The pair first met in 2009 through Mr Patrick’s teammate in the 48-hour Geoquest adventure race, Gillean Hilton, now Mr Tripp’s wife.

After offering his services to Mr Tripp, who’s right leg was amputated after a car accident in 1994, Mr Patrick has helped instil a competitive and physical edge to the now 44-year-old’s performance. After all, Mr Patrick competed at the highest level in canoeing for more than a decade including a four year stint in Sydney when he was selected to train at the Olympic Whitewater Stadium.

“That’s how I knew Robin Bell,” he said – Mr Patrick’s first athlete. “We went to the junior worlds together in 1995.

“After Robin became the canoe slalom world champion in 2005 his motivation dropped and he was looking to do things differently ahead of the Beijing Olympics.”

As his coach, Mr Patrick introduced a metrics based approach, analysing the champion’s data and looking at the likelihood of things going wrong on race day.

“We leveraged off that newfound interest and motivation, and by the time he got to Beijing he was in a really good space.” So good, the Sydney-sider won bronze in the C1 event, falling two seconds shy of second place. “It was an amazing result and one of the best moments of my life,” Mr Patrick recalled.

And now, Mr Tripp is edging closer to a world stage podium finish, too, after he placed fourth in the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Canada last year.

But the journey is not just about the medals for Mr Tripp. Since training under Mr Patrick he has lost 15 kilograms, improving his mobility and comfort on his prosthetic, plus his ability to keep up with his one-year-old son. “He barely uses his wheelchair anymore,” Mr Patrick said.

Holding Redlich is also keen to promote the duo’s success, with Mr Tripp recently invited to give a motivational speech to staff.

“You can draw your own boundaries at the firm,” Mr Patrick said. “If you work hard you get rewards just like in sport, and that’s why I love the competitive spirit in a litigation environment.”

HARRIET EDMUND

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