This week marks 20 years since Warrnambool's Nic Kaiser competed at the Sydney Paralympics.
The South West Academy of Sport (SWAS) chief executive officer got to live a dream after being identified as a talented volleyballer in his late teens.
He recalled walking into Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony in front of 90,000 people.
"A friend of mine I went to school with - who was actually playing soccer - it wasn't until he jumped on my back because he was so over-excited that it stopped me from just staring at everything around," he told The Main Break podcast.
The talented receiver then got the opportunity to play in front of crowds which neared 10,000.
"Just seeing and being able to play in front of that many people was fantastic as well," he said.
Kaiser played as a 'category A' athlete - the least impaired sportsman with a disability allowed to compete at the Paralympics. He suffered a horrific injury as a child.
"In my right hand, when I was about seven years old, I had a large gardening glove and I stuck it into a garden mulching machine," he said.
"So I only have my radius bone and I don't have any movement around my wrist.
"I also have a slightly smaller hand because it took my growth plate out.
"Within the Paralympics, they deem it muscle loss, movement loss and strength loss within the right hand."
Kaiser said he felt fortunate he had had the opportunity to play able-bodied sport as well.
"I'm fortunate that I can play majority of other sports and not be impacted...You look at some of the other international federations, we learnt while at the Paralympics, their view in other countries is if you're disabled and you fall under that category you must play disability sport.
"You can't play mainstream sport."
Kaiser is heavy involved in south-west volleyball and also plays for Warrnambool Wolves soccer team.
"We're really fortunate in Australia there is that type of system there and it really inspires me to make sure those opportunities exist," he said.
Listen to Nic Kaiser on The Main Break podcast here:
Meanwhile, SWAS has been creative this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The academy has conducted its athlete education and strength and conditioning sessions online.
Kaiser said there had been a focus on mental fitness.
He explained the coronavirus break could be compared to an athlete having time off due to serious injury.
"We took that same approach and said 'hey this COVID lockdown has stopped you from getting to the training facility but how do you do something at home to stay engaged or how do work on your stretching or mental approach that could help when you get back into training?'"
The academy's golf, netball and tennis (in-person) programs started again this past week.
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