Paralympic dreams for Claire Keefer

IT'S a good thing Claire Keefer is good at shot put.

According to her mum, Sue Keefer, it's one of only two sports she's allowed to do professionally.

"She does shot put and discus - those are the only two sports she can do," said Sue.

"In Paralympics, different athletes have different impairments they classify them by.

"Each of those classifications has events that they can do.

"In Claire's classification, in women, you can only throw shot put or discus.

"You can't enter a running race, you can't do high jump."

And she is good, incredibly good.

"Claire is currently ranked two in the world for shot put," said Sue.

She was recently selected to compete at the world championships in Doha later this month.

Both her parents, Lindsay and Sue Keefer, are Charlevillians. Claire lives mostly in Toowoomba.

"We were really excited because Claire is a dwarf - she is of short stature is the politically correct term," said Sue.

"This is the first major championships that Claire has been able to do.

"Despite nearly qualifying for the last Paralympics, she missed out."

It's been a tough slog for Claire. "There's been an eight-month qualifying period," said Sue. "Claire got it through Athletics Australia for the para athletics.

"She lives in Toowoomba, but she goes to Brisbane for technical training because there's no available coach in Toowoomba.

"She travels four times a week to Brisbane.

"There's something every day, some form of training or some exercise."

Claire works part-time in childcare.

Might this be a first for Charleville - the first Western Queenslander to win a medal at the Paralympics?

Her Western Queensland bona fides are clear: both Sue and her father grew up in Charleville

"She has been to Charleville regularly over the years," said Sue.

"We lived out there for a number of years. I worked at St Mary's for seven or eight years. We identify home as Charleville."



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