Tokyo: Former Pararoos representative James Turner has continued his hot form at the Paralympics Games with an easy victory in the T38 400m final on Tuesday.
Australia celebrated its second gold medal on the track thanks to Turner, the 25-year-old from Wollongong who burst onto the scene in Rio with an eye-catching win in his 800m event.
Turner, who flourished in athletics as a kid despite having cerebral palsy, was part of the Australian Paralympics seven-a-side soccer team from age 15 to 20.
Then one day he got a call from athletics officials telling him his classification had changed for Rio, meaning the team wouldn’t be participating. He was asked if he’d like to get back on the track.
Turner jumped at the opportunity. “I thought I might as well give it a shot, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Turner said.
“I did my job today. It’s just so much emotion from it. I almost tripped before the line, so pretty happy to get over the line. If I can give confidence to at least one kid with a disability, then I’ve done my job well.”
Turner’s love affair with soccer isn’t shared by his coach Iryna Dvoskina; the highly regarded mentor who also looks after Paralympic power couple Scott Reardon and Vanessa Low, plus Chad ‘White Tiger’ Perris.
“I do have a desire [to return to soccer], but don’t tell my coach,” Turner said. “She wouldn’t be very happy about that.