Hero's welcome for Rheed

Rheed McCracken signs autographs for Bundaberg fans on his return from the London Paralympics.
Rheed McCracken signs autographs for Bundaberg fans on his return from the London Paralympics. Mike Knott

BUNDABERG Paralympic star Rheed McCracken has been welcomed home by family, friends and scores of strangers after a successful campaign in London.

A 35-hour trip could not bring the 15-year-old's spirits down as his achievements were cheered and celebrated by about 150 people.

The silver and bronze medallist said the trip home was exhausting, but when he finally made it into the arm of loved ones all those feelings disappeared.

The Bundaberg High School student said he was overwhelmed with the impromptu welcoming reception that greeted him at Bundaberg Airport yesterday evening.

"It was a long flight home and I was falling asleep all the time - but I am wide awake now," Rheed said.

"To come to this is absolutely awesome. I cannot believe it."

The first people to get to Rheed were his parents, Brad and Samantha.

"We are very excited to have him home. Fifteen minutes is all we got to spend with him in London," Mr McCracken said.

"After his silver medal, he had to take off to get some food."

Rheed said he was looking forward to one particular thing about being home, after missing some creature comforts in the athlete's village.

"I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed," he said.

Training was the last thing on the teenager's mind when he arrived home and he said getting back to school was more important at the moment.

"I am straight back into my school work - apparently I have an overdue library book," Rheed said.

With the Games over and life returning to normal, the young athlete said he would have time to finish reading the letters from home he didn't get to in London.

"I need to thank everyone from Bundaberg for their support," he added.

"Thanks for everything - getting me there and the support I had over there."

Topics:  bundaberg london paralympics rheed mccracken sport

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