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These Paralympics heroes are also Big Issue sellers

Paralympian titans Lachlan Jones and Murray Goldfinch, also Big Issue vendors, reflect on the moments on the moments they reached sporting glory.

The 2021 Paralympic Games are under way in Tokyo, pitting athletes with an impairment against the clock and against each other to achieve sporting glory. Lachlan Jones and Murray Goldfinch brought home medals for Australia at previous Paralympics. They also happen to sell The Big Issue in Australia. Here they share their moments of sporting glory.

Lachlan Jones, wheelchair racer

Lachlan won the gold medal and achieved a world record in the T32 100m at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, and competed in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, 2004 Athens Paralympics

Winning gold at the Atlanta Paralympics in the men’s T32 100m was the biggest achievement of my life. To this day, I still don’t know how I won the gold medal in the state I was in. I had a headache, and I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent. It could’ve been anyone’s race – but it just happened that I got to the end first. It felt awesome. They presented me with the medal and I sang as the Australian anthem played. It gave me confidence that anything is possible.

I started racing when I was 18 or 19. Before then, I was with the Special Olympics doing swimming for a little while, but my pelvis started giving out on me, so my parents brought home some information about other sports I might be interested in.

I actually did powerlifting for a little while. As much as I hate to admit it, I was Australian champion – a one‑hit wonder – in powerlifting.

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Being a Paralympian was a full‑time job. I had a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport. I had to get up early in the morning; I was training six days a week, eating pasta and meat and veg. You have to sacrifice pretty much everything.

After Atlanta, they changed the classification, so I had to race as a T52. I knew I wasn’t going to win in Sydney, but I was in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. I went to Athens and did a PB there.

I’ve overcome many challenges, like people saying, “Oh no, it’s too dangerous,” or “You can’t do this” – they think because I’m disabled I’m going to get hurt, but I’ve proven them wrong.

Lachlan sells The Big Issue in Carnegie, Melbourne, Australia

Murray Goldfinch, men’s shot put and javelin

Murray won the bronze medal in shot put F20 2000 Sydney Paralympics

I was the youngest on the team in 2000 – I was 16 when I went to Sydney for the Paralympics to compete in F20 shot put.

Before that, I was training every day with the Australian Institute of Sport. It’s a hectic schedule, when they’ve got you on scholarship. They push you. I’ve travelled to Germany, Brazil, Spain, Kuala Lumpur, Argentina – all to compete. I’ve held a world record and won gold at world championships in shot put and discus.

The Sydney Paralympics was a really good atmosphere, lots of different cultures. Seeing Kylie Minogue sing at the Opening Ceremony was a highlight – and The Whitlams, that was pretty cool. I watched a few events too – murderball [wheelchair rugby] and wheelchair basketball. It was a social atmosphere so I got to meet lots of different people.

When I was competing in the shot put, after about the fourth throw, I thought, “Yeah, I’m doing pretty well,” since I had a knee injury about three months beforehand. I got third.

Receiving my medal was awesome – I don’t have words to describe it. It was a very good memory. I keep all my medals and trophies locked away, very tight.

I’m Australian, and I represented Australia. I loved it.

Murray sells The Big Issue at various locations around Canberra

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