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Greece is the word for Paralympian

Briefs

Cite as: (2004) 78(9) LIJ, p. 16

When Paralympian Lachlan Jones goes for gold in Athens this month the employees of at least one law firm will be cheering loudly.

Holding Redlich is sponsoring 27-year-old wheelchair athlete Lachlan in his quest to win a second Paralympic gold when the Games take place in Athens from 17-28 September.

Holding Redlich partner Michael Lombard said the firm became a financial sponsor of Lachlan in the months leading up to the Games to help Lachlan in his quest to relive his success at the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996.

Mr Lombard said sponsoring Lachlan was part of the firm’s commitment to social justice and helping people who faced enormous difficulties.

“We are hoping that our support of Lachlan will lift his profile even further and encourage other legal firms to support Paralympians in the future,” he said.

Lachlan, who was born with cerebral palsy and is the world’s only blind wheelchair athlete, will compete in the 200 metre, 400 metre, 800 metre and 1500 metre events in Athens in the T52 (spinal injury) classification.

He won the gold in the 100 metres in 1996 in world record time for the T33 (cerebral palsy) classification. However, that classification was scrapped before the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, requiring Lachlan to compete in the more difficult T52 classification.

Lachlan, who received an Order of Australia medal for his win in Atlanta, said that while his objective in Athens was to win, it depended on various factors falling into place on race day.

He said his vision impairment would play a big part in how the race went. “If the lanes are white enough and big enough then it’s no problem. But if they’re distorted and breaking up then you’ve got problems.”

Lachlan’s father and coach, Greg Jones, said the help of sponsors such as Holding Redlich was vital for athletes such as Lachlan.

Mr Jones said it cost around $25,000 a year for Lachlan to compete. Equipment was also expensive, with a racing wheelchair costing $8000 and gloves $250 a pair.

Mr Jones said that if Lachlan did his personal best then he would be a chance to pick up at least one gold medal.

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