Orange Christian School ace Waryk Holmes' rise to the top has been rapid, in the space of just seven months he's gone from his first wheelchair race to qualifying for the Australian All Schools Championships at Perth in December.
Holmes, who's from Bathurst, picked three silver medals at the Australian College of Physical Education NSW All Schools Track and Field Championships, which paved the way for his upcoming trip to WA Athletics Stadium.
The 14-year-old won silver medals in the 100, 200 and 800-metre races in his first track meeting.
It feels great. Getting to know all the other racers that I trained with and getting to know my coach has been really good.Waryk Holmes
But the journey to the next stage wouldn't have been possible without the support of family, friends and an ever-inspiring para racing community.
Together, they helped raise the money needed to cover Holmes' expenses in the state team and give him the opportunity to test himself on the big stage.
Seeing how much the community has rallied around him in such a short time involved with the sport has inspired Holmes to keep working hard.
"It feels great. Getting to know all the other racers that I trained with and getting to know my coach has been really good," he said.
In his short time involved with the sport Holmes has been working hard under the tutelage of nine-time Paralympic gold medal-winner Louise Sauvage.
Training and racing will become a little bit smoother for Holmes when he finally gets his hands on his custom made wheelchair too, although it does remain to be seen whether it will be ready in time for nationals, from December 6 to 8.
"The chair's a bit too big for me at the moment. When I get my new one it'll be a lot better," Holmes said.
"It's going to drop me down lower, where I sit, and it's going to be a lot easier to push."
As one of just two junior T34 wheelchair athletes competing at a national level, the path towards a big career in the sport is open for Holmes to take if he continues to apply himself. But it's on the road, not the track, where Holmes feels he has the chance to further his racing career.
He's already gearing up for a shot at a 10-kilometre event in Sydney and he knows he's capable of seeing out that distance.
"I had a race which was meant to be a seven-kilometre race but I ended up doing 15 because there was a bit of confusion from the marshalls on the track," Holmes said.
"One of the boys in front only did five and didn't do the loop on the track, and they disqualified him. They thought we hadn't done the loop either so they sent us back around and we ended up doing 15 instead."
And after being told he had to give the 10km event a go by Carcoar's Paralympic legend Kurt Fearnley it wasn't a voice Holmes was going to ignore.
With the shorter distances not being his forte, Holmes will make the journey west feeling very little pressure.
His main aim will be attempting to better his 100, 200 and 800-metre times from the state championships, where he clocked 27.13 seconds, 44.90 and 3.29.17.
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