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No holding back for a star on the rise

No holding back for a star on the rise

The past year has been stunning for Para-canoeist Jocelyn Neumeuller who reflects on making the Paralympic Games team to Rio

In February this year Paracanoeist Jocelyn Nuemeuller was not training and any thoughts of making a Paralympic Games was aimed at Tokyo in 2020.

But in the next few whirlwind months Jocelyn performed strongly to win gold at the Australian National Championships and in May, at the world championshsips, she was ranked eighth in the Kayak Single KL1 to qualify for the Paralympic team to Rio. That proved a staggering effort after being involved in the sport for less than a year.

Joceyln said she had to pinch herself to realise a dream so quickly.

"For me to be officially selected was an incredible feeling,'' she said. "The whole atmosphere in the village and to be able to meet and watch other athletes, Australian and from other countries, was fantastic. Everyone got to know each other and it was a special bond for me with the other Australians as we had got to know each other in the previous four months. And then to finish fifth in my event (single KL1 200m) was a great feeling. I was focused on my event but was not going in expecting to win but was thrilled with my result. At the end of the Games it was the reality of what I had done. After the Games I was straight back into it and into the gym.''

But it is not just on the water where Jocelyn is shining. A natural sportswoman Jocelyn has been impressing in wheelchair basketball, receiving one-on-one training with the Australian Gliders (women) basketball head coach.

At the moment she is the only South Australian woman playing in a local men's competition. She is juggling both sports but says water sports will be her focus with Tokyo 2020 firmly in sight.

Off the water and courts Jocelyn also is a mentor with Julia Farr's peer support program which specialises in helping/advising people aged between 18 and 35 with disabilities. She also volunteers with the Starlight Children's Foundation and is heavily involved in a recreational controlled scuba diving program. In her younger days she won a national sailing title and was a member of the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club's Sailability program which caters to people with disabilities.

Strongly supported by her family in Victor Harbour Jocelyn is not far from graduating from a Bachelor of Medical Science at Flinders University.

Her philosophy on life and advice to others? "Not to let the situation or events define you. Make them work for you.''

Jocelyn Neumeuller