Amputee Tim Hodge could never have imaged that taking up swimming as part of his rehab would lead to him becoming a dual Commonwealth Games silver medallist.
A member of one of Australia’s most successful swim teams, Tim collected silver medals in both the 100m backstroke and breaststroke events in the S9 classification on the Gold Coast this week.
The 17-year-old Year 12 Patrician Brothers’ Blacktown student has beaten unsurmountable hurdles to not only be selected on the team but to medal in two of the three events he competed in.
He admits the daily 3.30am starts and 15 hour training sessions a week combined with studying for the HSC has all been worthwhile particularly winning his first international medal on home soil.
Proud mum Cheryl said she was bursting with pride over what Tim had achieved considering he only took up the sport after having his right lower leg amputated at the age of four.
“Tim’s swimming achievements have been the absolute icing on the cake for us,” she beamed.
“We are so proud of his achievements and how far he has come in such a short time considering what he has had to overcome.
“Finding his own way of accomplishing things that works with his limb deficiency has by far been his biggest challenge but something he has worked through.
“His faith is also very important to him, it is part of who he is as a person. It has always been a part of his life and will continue to be no matter what he does.”
Tim was born with both an upper and lower limb deficiency mainly on his right side which meant he was completely missing his fibula. Doctors recommended his foot be amputated to give him a better fitting prosthesis which would allow him to participate in sports rather than sitting on the sidelines – and participate he has.
Heath Borg, sports master at Patrician Brothers’ Blacktown said the whole school community has not only supported but learnt so much from the courage Tim has displayed.
“As a college, Patrician Brothers’ Blacktown is immensely proud of Tim and his results at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“He is an extremely humble young man and deserves every success that has come his way thus far and God willing, in the future.
“Our community has been enriched through the sharing of this journey with Tim and his family.”
Tim will now turn his attention to making the Paralympic Pan Pac Team later this year, World Championship selection next year and then his ultimate goal, the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
He also has his sights set on studying either electrical or chemical engineering.