Aussie Glider’s wheelchair basketball player Bill Lathem is looking forward to his first Paralympics.
Aussie Glider’s wheelchair basketball player Bill Lathem is looking forward to his first Paralympics. Leigh Jensen

Paralympic party is on

WHILE the hype of the Olympics has since subsided, the party is only just starting for the Coffs Coast's three Paralympians.

It will be the first Paralympic games for wheelchair rugby player Ben Newton and wheelchair basketballer Bill Latham while swimmer Michael Anderson will make his second appearance after performing well in Beijing four years ago.

Getting under way at 5am tomorrow morning (AEST), the Paralympic opening ceremony is sure to be a career highlight for the trio before they focus on the start of competition.

Former Bellingen High School student Anderson will hope to improve on his silver medal performance in 2008 as he takes on four events in the pool in London.

Starting off with the 100 and 200 metres freestyle, the 25-year-old will also compete in the breastroke over the same distances.

Latham and Newton will also be confident of taking home a medal from these games with Australia a force in both the wheelchair rugby and basketball competitions.

"I first really got into wheelchair rugby after the 2004 Paralympics and have always dreamt of representing Australia at the Games," Newton said.

"With Australia qualifying for London as the competition's number two seed, we are a good chance to actually win the event but it will be tough."

It was a sentiment shared by Latham.

"It is a great honour to go to the Paralympics," Latham said.

"I'm really excited and can't wait for it to start.



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