Tweed Queen's Baton Relay bearers honoured
LIKE the athletes preparing for their landmark moment on the streets of the Gold Coast in April, Sam Ford is training hard to make the most of his Commonwealth Games moment.
After being put forward as a nominee for the Queen's Baton Relay by ABC Radio, the brave Cabarita resident was chosen to carry the legacy and will be front and centre when it reaches him just a day before the opening ceremony on April 4.
Training twice a week to be ready, Mr Ford's mother Margaret said the honour was one that would not be lost on her son or their family, after receiving confirmation he had been chosen last week.
"It was really exciting for us and especially for Sam. He was pretty ecstatic,” Mrs Ford said.
Mr Ford was a healthy 18-year-old when he was floored by a punch outside a Coolangatta burger joint in 2009. His attacker was jailed but the punch left Mr Ford facing a life of full-time care.
Now 26, Mrs Ford said her son was immersed in art and learning to DJ, but his nod as a batonbearer had given him a real spur on.
"He's doing a couple of days training at Making Strides. They train him outside of the chair with a walking frame, so maybe if he gets good enough , maybe he can do a stretch on his frame for the baton relay,” Mrs Ford said.
"Of the things he's done (since the incident), the baton relay has got to be up there, and it's a once in a lifetime experience for him.”
"Not many people get that kind of opportunity and he's really grateful; it's a major highlight for him.”
No stranger to the athletics track, fellow Tweed nominee Tynan Neveceral has added to his already lofty list of achievements.
A Tweed Little Athletics member, the 13-year-old Palm-Beach Currumbin student was arguably the fastest 100-metre runner in Australia and the US as a 12-year-old.
Like Mr Ford, Tynan will be a baton bearer on Day 99 of the Australian leg of the journey and is "hyped” to be one of the 3800 chosen for the honour.
"I'm so excited to wear the official uniform and I'll keep this to show my children and grandchildren,” he said.
While Tynan's accolades continue to mount, his family keep him grounded and mother Shenny said her son was just a regular kid around the home.
But when it comes to his commitment to training and competing, Tynan leaves no stone unturned in his preparation, despite his young age.
"This nomination was so unexpected for us. We are so proud that Tynan has been chosen and we hope that he can inspire other young athletes to commit to their sport and achieve,” Mrs Neveceral said.
Tynan said the opportunity to brush shoulders with his heroes had already motivated him and while he's ecstatic to carry the baton, he hoped to play an even bigger part in future Games.
"I really hope I can meet some of the sportsman and sports women that inspire me. It's hard to keep motivated (at times), but meeting these people will keep me inspired to reach the top,” he said.
"I hope to be running in the Commonwealth Games one day.”
Queens Baton Relay
What: Carries a message from the Queen and covers 230,000km over 388 days before arriving in Australia on December 17.
Where: Begins in Canberra and travels clock-wise on a 100 day journey before finishing on the Gold Coast.
Baton bearers: 19 from the Tweed region have been selected