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Bradley James Thomas OAM
b. 1 April 1967
Brad first came to the notice of athletics officials in 1986, when he competed at the Domain Athletics Centre in track and field events in the interclub competition against able-bodied opponents. It was a tough introduction to competitive athletics, as he was given no favours. However, the experience stood him in good stead for future international competition, where he came up against other athletes with a disability.
Brad was first selected to represent Australia in 1988, when he was named in the Seoul Paralympic Games team - the only Tasmanian to be selected. He won a silver medal in the pentathlon, and in doing so, created a national record.
Three more Paralympic selections followed. The first was for the Barcelona team in 1992, where he finished 7th in the pentathlon and 5th in the long jump. The second was for Atlanta in 1996 and then the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000, making him a four-time Paralympian; a rare feat in itself.
At the Atlanta Games, Brad put in an excellent performance, setting a new world record and winning gold with his team in the 4 x 100-metre relay. Brad also won a bronze medal in the 100-metres and bronze in the long jump.
Other selections saw him represent Australia in 1997 and 1998, when the national teams travelled to Europe and the United States of America. Brad and his teammates broke another world record in the relay at the Duderstadt meet in Germany.
In a career that spanned 15 years - from 1985 until 2000 - Brad set three national records and, over that time, was the NSW titleholder in the 100 and 200-metres, the long jump and the pentathlon. He was twice named the NSW Amputee Sporting Association Male Athlete of the Year - in 1996 and 1998. Brad was also vice-captain of the Australian volleyball team at the World Amputee Championships in Las Vegas in 1986.
Brad's wonderful sporting career was capped in 1997 when he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the New Year's Honours list for his services to sport.
Brad is a fantastic role model for his fellow athletes, but probably even more so to the general public as someone who overcame a physical disability to achieve world class status in his chosen sport.