KATHRYN Ross watched with interest as Australia’s Olympic rowers paddled down the waters at Eton Dorney, waiting for her chance to do the same.
The Warrnambool athlete put herself through an arduous training regime as she counted down the days to the London Paralympic Games.
Ross and her trunk-and-arms mixed double scull partner Gavin Bellis have been training up to six hours a day in Canberra and will fly to London on August 22.
With a Beijing Paralympics silver medal already in her keeping, Ross would love to return home with gold around her neck.
“We hope to do quite well but it depends. You don’t know what can happen on the day,” she said.
“The New Zealand (Olympic) quad had an oar break halfway through, that kind of thing can happen.
“You can only control what you can control.”
The competition will be tough, something Ross is looking forward to.
Twelve boats have qualified for the trunk-and-arms mixed double scull.
Heats will be held on August 31, with finals on September 2.
“There are definitely a couple of real threats,” Ross said.
“The top six boats will make an exceptional race. It’s going to be so tight.
“China won the world championships last year and France was second and we beat France at the World Cup.
“It will be game on from start to finish.”
Ross heads into her second Paralympic Games campaign confident.
She has built a strong foundation with new partner Bellis, with whom she teamed up to win gold at the World Rowing Cup III in Germany in June.
Ross’ 2008 silver medal was won with John Maclean, with whom she claimed bronze at last year’s world rowing championships in Slovenia.
Bellis, 38, has spinocerebellar ataxia, a hereditary disease which affects co-ordination and balance.
The former army diesel mechanic and father-of-two was diagnosed in 2004. This will be his first Paralympic Games.
Ross, who has a right leg deformity as a result of a childhood accident, said Bellis was an inspiration.
“He is fantastic. He’s one determined person,” she said.
“He really has proved to himself and family he can do anything he puts his mind to. He’s on a mission.
“Gavin and I won the World Cup a month or so ago and that was very exciting. It was one of the most exciting races I have raced in.”
Ross, speaking to The Standard from Canberra, said she felt fit and ready to go.
“My preparation is going really well, really fantastic,” she said.
“At the moment it’s a heavy load, up to five or six hours a day.
“It consists of a couple of hours rowing, then core strength for an hour and weight training for an hour-and-a-half and then a recovery session after that to prepare for another day.
“I am loving every minute of it.” Ensuring her body is in peak physical condition is paramount.
“For us Paralympians, our class is trunk-and-arms, which limits the use of our legs,” Ross said.
“Because we don’t have sliding seats, our backs and upper bodies take the brunt of what we do.”
For Ross, rowing is just as much an outlet as it is a sport.
It’s a chance for her mind to unwind, particularly on training days.
“It’s a freedom feeling for someone who can’t run,” she said.
Ross is grateful for the Warrnambool community’s continued support. She said representing Australia was an honour but she found it difficult to see herself as an elite sportswoman.
“Rowing is an elite sport and elite sport is an amazing thing, but I don’t see myself as that,” she said.
“I challenge myself to try and do the best I can do.”
While Ross’ immediate focus is on London, a third Paralympic Games in 2016 is on her radar.
“We are looking at Rio. I will see how my body holds out and the mind,” she said.
The London Paralympic Games start on August 29 and run until September 9.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.