Chris triumphs through sport

THE founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin once said, the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle.

The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Chris Hendry was born intellectually impaired and developed epilepsy in later life, but neither of these disorders has held him back from competing in sport. Chris lives the Olympic ideal in his everyday life.

In fact, the 29-year-old Athlete with Disability (AWD) participates in track and field events; he swims and is a keen 10-pin bowler, accruing more than 140 medals in his chosen sports.

At the 2007 Special Olympics Summer Games in Shanghai, Chris won two silver medals; one for the 100m, the other as part of the Australian relay team.

This placed him second in the world in the 100m for an intellectually impaired AWD. In the 200m, he came fourth but achieved a personal best of 27.28 secs.

That year, he was named as Ballina's Australia Day Sportsperson of the Year. His heroes include Australian sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and multi-Olympic gold medallist Dawn Fraser.

Chris will contest the Special Olympics Australia IX National Games in Adelaide next year, competing in 100m, 200m, relay, and shot put. If he performs well (at least one gold), he will be considered for the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens.

He is employed by Ballina Shire Council where he assists with horticultural maintenance and works in the shire nursery.

His life has been a struggle by anyone's standards but he has persevered, participated, and triumphed over his adversities.

Chris Hendry truly is one of our local heroes.

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