Ipswich club athlete qualifies for Rio Games

Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitor Claire Keefer with her well-timed silver medal at the national titles

Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitor Claire Keefer with her well-timed silver medal at the national titles.

 

RIO Paralympics qualifier Claire Keefer is waiting for official confirmation she’ll be on the plane to Brazil with the Australian team later this year.

However, after another superb performance, the Ipswich and District Athletic Club thrower has high hopes in discus and shotput.

Keefer threw a personal best 24.59m in discus at the weekend’s Australian Open Track and Field Championships in Sydney to win the silver medal.

That Paralympics A qualifying standard came after she threw another personal best (7.66m) in the shotput at a meet in Canberra earlier this year.

She hopes to represent Australia in both F41 category events at the Rio Paralympic Games from September 7-18.  The Parathletics team is being announced in July.

Based in Toowoomba, Keefer highlights her commitment to the sport by travelling five times a week to train with Ipswich club coach Mick Moore and in Brisbane with the Queensland Academy of Sport.

However, securing a spot on the Australian Paralympic team in Rio is just the start of her longer term ambition.

“My ultimate goal is to compete on the international stage on a more regular basis,” she said.

Her major success on the road to Rio was winning a bronze medal in the shotput at last year’s International Paralympic Committee (IPC) world championships in Doha, Qatar.  She threw 22.86m, competing at her first international competition.

“That was a bit of a breakthrough for me,” she said.  “Rio will be a bigger event again.”

Keefer, 21, has been working with Moore at Ipswich’s Bill Paterson Oval training base for two years, having started athletics six years ago.

“He’s been good,” she said.  “My distances have improved a lot.

“With Mick, it’s more on the technical side.  I do mainly strength work with the QAS.”

Moore was in Sydney to see Keefer throw.  He’s confident her qualifying standards will see her on the Australian team.

“She done very well.  She’s a very hard trainer,” Moore said.  “She’s got about three or four A qualifiers in shot and now she’s got the A qualifier in discus.”

Keefer also trains with another of Moore’s rising stars, Fernvale-based teenager Rochelle Vidler, who is also excelling in her throwing events.

At the latest national championships, Keefer also won a bronze in the shotput with a 7.57m throw.

At the same event, Ipswich masters supremo Darrin Norwood finished fifth in the shotput with a 15.30m throw.  That personal best effort keeps him on track for a strong showing at the World Masters titles in Perth later this year.

Ipswich sprinter Larissa Chambers finished 14th in the 400m (56.36s) after coming fifth in her heat.