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FEARNLEY Kurt
Sport Athletics
NPC Australia   
GenderMen
Born23 Mar 1981
Height1.40 m
Weight 50 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital - Genetic
Classification
T54
Further Personal Information
Marital status
Married
Family
Wife Sheridan
Residence
Newcastle, NSW, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Teacher
Languages
English
Higher education
Physical Education - Charles Sturt University: Bathurst, NSW, AUS
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He first became involved with the sport at age 14 in his hometown of Carcoar, NSW, Australia. While he was in high school the town raised money to buy him a chair and send him to the United States to compete.
Why this sport?
He realised wheelchair racing was what he wanted to do in the early 1990s while watching the Oz Day 10km race in Sydney, NSW, Australia. "I knew that I wanted to be on that start line. I had to be in that race."
Club / Team
New South Wales Institute of Sport [NSWIS]: Sydney, NSW, AUS
Name of coach
Andrew Dawes
Coach from which country?
Australia
Training Regime
He began a different training regime in 2013 that saw him replace some of the time he spent on the road with extra work in the gym.
International Debut
Year
1999
Competing for
Australia
Tournament
North and Central American Qualification
Location
United States
General Interest
Hobbies
Swimming, surfing, going to the beach. (ninemsn.com.au, 18 May 2013)
Most influential person in career
Coach Andrew Dawes. (paralympic.org.au, 23 Dec 2009)
Injuries
At age 17 he suffered a broken sternum [breast bone], nose and leg after being hit by a car during a training session in Switzerland. (paralympic.org.au, 01 Dec 2009)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He some lucky underwear that he has worn in every major marathon since winning gold at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. (paralympic.org.au, 04 Aug 2011)
Awards and honours
He has won numerous awards including the 2009/10 Male Athlete of the Year with a Disability in Australia, the 2009 New South Wales Young Australian of the Year, and the 2006 Pierre De Coubertin Award [Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability]. He was also named the 2004 Male Paralympian of the Year by the Australian Paralympic Committee [APC]. (kurtfearnley.com, 27 Aug 2010; athletics.com.au, 18 Apr 2010; paralympic.org.au, 23 Dec 2009)

In 2008 he became the first person to win the New York Marathon three times in the men's wheelchair division. He won the race for a fourth successive time in 2009. (paralympic.org.au, 23 Dec 2009; heraldsun.com.au, 18 Nov 2009)

In 2005 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia [OAM] in recognition of his performances at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. (paralympic.org.au, 23 Dec 2009)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (westernadvocate.com.au, 09 Jan 2014)
Impairment
He has lumbar sacral agenesis and was born without the lower portion of his spine. (dailytelegraph.com.au, 22 Jul 2012)
Other information
BREAK IN 2013
He decided to withdraw from the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France, as he wanted a break from competing in another major tournament. "This year [2013] is the best opportunity to spend some time at home and take a break. I hope to defend my Commonwealth Games gold medal from 2010 in Glasgow, before the world championships in Doha in 2015 and then back to the Paralympic Games in Rio the year after." (paralympic.org.au, 24 May 2013)

CHALLENGES
In November 2009 he completed Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Trail, crawling on his hands for 10 days across the 96km track over mud and rugged terrain. In September 2009 he ascended Sydney Tower [one of the tallest buildings in the southern hemisphere] on his hands, going up the 1504 stairs in about 20 minutes. (heraldsun.com.au, 18 Nov 2009; abc.net.au, 30 Sep 2009)

COMMUNITY WORK
He has represented a number of charity organisations and is an ambassador for the Day of Difference Foundation [a charity for critically injured children] and for the International Day of People with a Disability. He is also a board member of Australian Volunteers International. When he is not training, he travels across New South Wales in Australia, teaching physical education to high school children. (australianvolunteers.com, 25 Jan 2013; kurtfearnley.com, 23 Dec 2009)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
2 2000 800m T54 1:38.55
2 2000 4 x 100m Relay T54 55.01
1 2004 5000m T54 10:23.98 
2 2004 4 x 100m Relay T53-54 52.10
1 2004 Marathon T54 1:25:37
2 2008 800m T54 1:36.76 
3 2008 1500m T54 3:14.28 
2 2008 5000m T54 10:22.97 
1 2008 Marathon T54 1:23:17 
2 2012 5000m T54 11:07.90
3 2012 Marathon T54 1:30:21
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2006 800m T54 1:38.91 
3 2006 1500m T54 3:16.09
1 2006 5000m T54 11:20.56 
1 2006 Marathon T54 1:28:17 
1 2011 Marathon T54 1:31:09
Commonwealth Games (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
1 2010 1500m T54 3:19.86