Chris heads to Olympics Invitational
A PAINFUL eye injury couldn't stop Ballina athlete Chris Hendry from achieving his latest sporting success.
Hendry, 33, has been selected to play for NSW in the Special Olympics Invitational Twenty20 cricket carnival in Adelaide next month.
He was behind the stumps at selection trials in Penrith last year and was hit in the eye by a cricket ball.
The injury ended his trials prematurely but selectors saw enough for him to progress to the next level.
"I've played cricket since I was a kid and this is something I've always wanted to do," Hendry said.
"I'm very proud to be part of it."
Hendry is the only player from North Coast selected and will open the bowling for his team.
At stake at the Adelaide carnival is the chance for further selection in the Australian team.
Hendry is no stranger to green and gold having won two silver medals at the 2007 Special Olympics in China and an Australian title in tenpin bowling last year.
Athletics and Tintenbar-East Ballina cricket coach Peter Stephenson has overseen Hendry's progress over the past 12 years.
"He has a chance of representing Australia for the third time in seven years and that's an incredible effort," Stephenson said.
"Chris has always trained hard and he dreams big."
Hendry was diagnosed with an intellectual disability as a child and developed epilepsy in his teenage years.
He first started playing cricket at Murwillumbah and is now with Tintenbar-East Ballina.
His athletics days have finished because of the stress on his knees but you won't hear him complaining.
"I've trained 1100 athletes in 22 years and Chris is the only one that's never complained about anything," Stephenson said.
"There are a lot of junior athletes that emulate him.
"He's always had plenty of support around him with his mother and from other people."
The Northern NSW branch of the Lord's Taverners will assist him with fundraising for the Adelaide carnival.