THE City of Ballarat recognised the incredible efforts of Buninyong wheelchair athlete Sam Rizzo with a celebration last Wednesday afternoon. Sam, 17, recently returned from the World Para-Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, with four medals, including silver in the T54 400 metres and bronze in the T54 100, 800 and 1500 metre events. The T54 category is for athletes with muscle weakness and limb deficiency or joint restrictions, but still have arm strength. The Damascus College student was one of only 12 young athletes chosen for the national team and was also given the honour of being the Australian flag bearer.
Sam’s selection capped off a stellar 2016/17 athletics season, which included winning the Great Ocean Road marathon wheelchair section, picking up five medals in state competition and setting an Australian record.
Sam attended the celebration, along with his parents Debbie and Tony, coach and paralympic gold medallist Richard Collins and WestVic Academy of Sport CEO Rob Ward
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh hosted the event.
Cr McIntosh said Sam was a fantastic ambassador for Ballarat.
“Sam’s achievements at just 17 are a testament to his hard work and commitment to his sport,” Cr McIntosh said.
“I look forward to hearing about Sam’s experiences in Switzerland and also to following his athletic career into the future.”