CAMERON Whittaker is back in training and ready to go hard as the Queensland Cyclones prepare for the 2019 season.
The Scenic Rim athlete was part of the team that took out the GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championships last year and Whittaker said they were hoping to retain the title in 2019.
“We would love to win it back-to-back,” he said.
“Last year was the first time in about four years that Queensland won the nationals and that meant a lot.
“This year we have a couple of invitational tournaments and the first one is in March at Cobram, Victoria,” Whittaker said.
He said the national competition would also kick off in March with a game in Melbourne, followed by a June tournament in Brisbane and this year’s GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championships in July.
“For us, we want to make the finals again and obviously we want to win it,” he said.
“It’s going to be interesting because there are a lot of elite players in the game. Next year is a paralympic year so everyone wants to give their best.”
After last year’s achievements at nationals, Whittaker retained both his humility and enthusiasm for the game.
“I was lucky enough to be awarded 2.5 best in class on court throughout the competition,” he said.
He also made a point not to get cocky or drop the ball on his training regime.
“I recently joined up with a Cross Fit place, which I do twice a week as well as strength and conditioning twice a week in Brisbane and three cardio sessions a week,” he said.
“All up I am doing 11 or 12 training sessions a week, including state team training.
“The Australian team has also let me train with them, which is great because they are the peak of where you want to go in the sport.”
He said training with the Australian team provided a challenge and a way to measure his progress.
Whittaker has had a disability similar to motor neurone disease since birth and has been in a wheelchair since the age of 13. He has been playing wheelchair rugby since 2014.