Grandfather inspiration for Ballina sprinter
By STEVE SPINKS
CHRIS HENDRY'S grandfather was the inspiration as the Ballina athlete won two silver medals at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, this month.
The 27-year-old claimed silver in the 100m sprint and in the 4 x 100m relay, and finished fourth in the 200m sprint to round out a great effort.
Hendry's grandfather, Jimmy Harper, died in 1998.
"He did it for his Pop," Hendry's mother Maryellen said.
"He (Harper) died when Chris was competing in Tasmania in 1998."
Hendry qualified for Shanghai last year after a great performance at the national championships.
He won gold medals in the 200m and the 4 x 100m relay and claimed silver in the 100m.
Hendry's trip to Shanghai was the first time he had been overseas.
"The experience travelling to the other side of the world was amazing," Hendry said.
"The trip and then the running was very emotional."
Hendry's second placing in the 100m final to a Thai runner was extremely close.
Only centimetres separated the pair with the Ballina Council worker running an impressive 13.13s.
In the relay, Hendry ran the third leg and lifted his team from second last to second place.
Ecuador won the relay.
More than 7500 athletes competed in Shanghai from more than 170 countries.
Hendry, who is part of the Ballina Athletics Club, trains four or five days a week under the guidance of Peter Stephenson at Ballina High School.
While the silver medals would have satisfied most, Hendry is now keen to go one step further in four years in Athens.
"It's just one more step to go," he said.
"To get the big one."
The Ballina athlete also plays indoor and outdoor cricket and lawn bowls.
Maryellen and Chris said they would like to thank the Ballina community for their support, especially Ballina High, the Ballina Athletics Club and Wallace and Co.