UQ alumnus Nic Beveridge is ranked 6th in the world in the PT1 para-triathlon
UQ alumnus Nic Beveridge is ranked 6th in the world in the PT1 para-triathlon
13 October 2014

Losing the ability to walk at the age of 17 hasn’t deterred University of Queensland alumnus Nic Beveridge from striving for sporting success.

Nic experienced chest pains, spasms and breathing difficulties one night in his last year of high school.

He awoke the next morning paraplegic, and was later diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder transverse myelitis.

Ten years on and Nic is ranked sixth in the world in the PT1 para-triathlon and has just returned from competing at the World Para-triathlon Championships in Canada, despite only starting training competitively for the sport last year.

The Bachelor of Arts and Communication graduate said his training at the UQ Sport Academy had prepared him for one of the biggest para-triathlete events of his career.

“The support of the staff has helped me significantly in my development, and having a pool, an athletics track, a campus to ride around, and strength and conditioning facilities make UQ an ideal training base,” he said.

“I've always had a passion for sport, but the hunger to succeed in sport since I've had a disability came about when I discovered para-triathlons.

“My first competition was Triathlon Queensland's sprint distance championships in April 2013, and I've been addicted ever since.”

UQ Sport High Performance Manager and Associate Lecturer Vince Kelly has overseen Nic’s training schedule over the past nine months.

Vince said para-athlete training was a growing area at UQ Sport.

“The Australian Paralympic Committee has signed with UQ Sport to deliver daily training services to para-athletes in Australia and, as well as Nic, we also train six wheelchair rugby players and two boccia players,” he said.

“Our team is working with other academic staff and research higher degree students from UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies to assist with the roll-out of specialised testing technology for athletes with disabilities.

“To reflect the growing area, students completing courses in human movement studies at UQ gain knowledge and experience in working with both elite athletes and non-athletes with disabilities.”

UQ Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science graduate Elliot Jackson, who is involved in training the wheelchair rugby players and boccia players, said he relished the opportunity to work with para-athletes.

Elliot Jackson with members of the Australian wheelchair rugby team

“I enjoy having the ability to help these elite athletes reach their sporting goals,” he said.

“They are individually the best in the country at their given sport and I enjoy pushing them to become the best in the world.

“Each disability results in athletes having very different movements, ranges of movement and limb/torso function, so I need to be sure to know the disability of each athlete and its severity.”

Recent results for para-athletes training at UQ Sport:

Nic Beveridge: ninth at the Para-triathlon World Championships in Canada 2014.

Australian Wheelchair Rugby team: won the World Championships in Denmark in August 2014.

Boccia players (Jean-Paul LeFontaine, Jason Mayweather): Jason competed at the World Championships in Beijing last month and is ranked 26th in the world.

Find out more about training at UQ Sport or the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Media: Caroline Bird, UQ Communications 07 3365 1130, c.bird1@uq.edu.au or Vince Kelly, 07 3365 4327, vincek@uqsport.com.au.