The following piece has been written by La Porchetta’s CEO, Sara Pantaleo.
With our amazing Aussie and New Zealand Paralympians now home, both countries can rightly congratulate themselves on their fantastic efforts in Rio.
While we may not have brought home as many medals as some had hoped, both countries really were star performers, because both were in the top ten of participating nations if we calculate the total medals and gold medals won relative to population size.
Based on population we are both tiny compared to the USA, Britain and China, but based on medals won per population, we are very impressive!
Most important though is the spirit of our athletes. We stand in awe of their efforts and their struggles. For some, those struggles were against great odds. They may not have all won medals, but they did give it their all in terms of effort and determination.
In that regard, our special congratulations go to Ahmed Kelly who is part of our own La Porchetta family.
Ahmed proudly represented Australia as a member of the Paralympic swimming squad. This was the second time he represented Australia. He also competed at the London Paralympics in 2012. While he didn’t finish in the top three in Rio as he’d hoped, he accepts that this is the reality of sport – it can give you great highs and great lows.
Those of us who know Ahmed and have watched how hard he worked towards his goals are very proud of him. Even though he didn’t come home with a medal, he swam for Australia as a Paralympian, putting him among the best in the world, the select few who make it to the Olympics and Paralympics, up there with the best of the best!