Australia's Kurt Fearnley will retire from competition after the Gold Coast Games.
Australia's Kurt Fearnley will retire from competition after the Gold Coast Games. Cameron Spencer

Why Fearnley must carry the flag at the closing ceremony

Kurt Fearnley must be Australia's flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

The 37-year-old triple Paralympic gold medallist is adamant his silver medal effort in the T54 1500m and his upcoming T54 marathon will be his last in international competition.

It ends a spectacular career during which he competed at five consecutive Paralympic Games, winning three gold, seven silver and three bronze medals, was a four-time world champion, and won a gold and silver at previous Commonwealth Games.

He has raced across the world, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004, was named New South Wales' Young Australian of the Year in 2009, and has a visitor's hub named in his honour at Centennial Park.

He has always held handled himself, and treated others, with the utmost respect.

He is a genuine human, and moments after his final race on the track he proved there is no better candidate for Australia's flag bearer at the closing ceremony.

The Gold Coast Games have been about inclusiveness. Para event have been sprinkled throughout the traditional program, allowing all athletes to compete together for the first time.

Fearnley, arguably the most recognisable Australian para-athlete in the world, dedicated half of his post-race interview to call for Australians to be more open to providing opportunities to disabled people.

"I've been put in this amazing position and privilege that I'm extremely grateful for, and I've just gotta say there's a lot of people with disabilities that haven't been given the privilege that I have," he said.

"We're getting people of all experiences and life and celebrated it. I think that tomorrow maybe we can go back to work and speak to your co-workers about getting more people with disabilities in there or (provide better opportunities in) education facilities or public transport.

"This, right here, is a success and let's remind ourselves of that and what the real purpose is."

There is no person that better represents Australian athletes, or what the Gold Coast Games is about, than Kurt Fearnley.

News Corp Australia


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