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Tweed sailor training for Rio Olympics spot in 2016

Paul Dron's goal is to compete at the 2014 olympics Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Paul Dron's goal is to compete at the 2014 olympics Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News Blainey Woodham

TWEED sailor Paul Dron has been invited to try out for the Australian paralympics sailing team which will compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Mr Dron is one of the driving forces behind registered charity Sailability which offers people with physical challenges the opportunity to safely hop in a boat and enjoy a day on the water.

Sailability president Kevin Bourke said Mr Dron was the epitome of what Sailability was all about.

"Sailability offers our disabled clients the opportunity to take control over something and aims to give them the confidence to do the same in other areas of their lives," Mr Bourke said.

Mr Dron has been involved with Sailability since 2007 and hasn't looked back since.

"I had a stroke in 1987 and 20 years later found Sailability," Mr Dron said.

Two years ago, Mr Dron took on the presidency of the charity and under his guidance Sailability grew steadily.

Mr Bourke said "over the last two years, under Paul's leadership, Sailability has attracted more volunteers and more clients.

"Paul only recently gave the presidency away to concentrate on his 2016 Olympic campaign," Mr Bourke said.

Mr Dron said he recently attended a welcome home event for Australia's Paralympics team in Sydney and bumped into one of Australia's sailing coaches who asked him if he was interested in trying out for the team.

"I'll have to travel to Sydney every first weekend of the month for the next six months to train.

"Once that's over, I'll find out whether I've been selected or not," Mr Dron said.

Mr Dron aims to find a spot in a three man team which will race a Sonar keelboat at the Olympics.

He has already made his mark in the sailing world by taking out the Tweed River Sailing Club winter series in an Access 303 boat and has competed in the NSW state championships and national titles

Mr Dron's commitment to his sport has put an enormous strain on him financially and to continue his Olympic challenge will need support.

Mr Bourke said he urged the Tweed community to donate to Sailability and Mr Dron to help him offset some of his costs.

Donations to Sailability are tax-deductible and anyone wishing to help can contact Mr Bourke on 0419 674 451.

Topics:  paralympics, paul dron, sailing team


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