BEAUDESERT’S wheelchair rugby player Cameron Whittaker is raising the bar for himself this year with the goal of being selected for the Australian squad.
The 29-year-old will play in several events, including the first invitational tournament, Canberra Classic 2018, to be held in Canberra next month.
Whittaker has been playing wheelchair rugby since 2014 and represented Queensland at national competitions for the past three years.
The athlete has had a disability similar to motor neurone disease since birth and has been in a wheelchair since the age of 13.
Whittaker said the invitational tournaments would help him improve his skills as an individual player.
“A lot of us are trying to show our worth for future selection so we’re going to these competitions as much as possible,” he said.
“The end goal is to be selected for the Australian squad and it is a hard task but I’ve been more focused on my training and I’m the fastest I’ve ever been.”
“These tournaments are for developing players – invitational tournaments means a player won’t aligned with a team.”
Whittaker said he was determined to make his mark in wheelchair rugby this year and improve his game.
“I’m feeling good and I’m getting better,” he said.
“It took me 28 seconds to do a full basketball lap and now I’ve beaten my time by four seconds.
“I didn’t have a break through the Christmas holidays, I continued my training and road pushes (with a wheelchair) and I’ve lost 35kgs because of it.”
Whittaker said training on the court began two weeks ago and he was eager to improve his weaknesses.
“I’m now just getting back in the swing of things now that we’ve started back on the court,” he said.
“I need to get back into muscle memory, good passes and throws and understanding the game play.”
Whittaker said he would continue to play wheelchair rugby with the Queensland Cyclones team at the next state competition to be held in November.
Last year, the team placed third in the GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship after playing against national and international squads.
To make a donation to help Whittaker compete in the tournaments, which are self-funded, email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.