Highlights of the Paralympic Games
Liesl Tesch and Daniel Fitzgibbon win first Paralympic Gold Sailing
Leisl Tesch - Proxy ADDC Committee Member
Among the most decorated and respected members of the Australian team, five-time Paralympian Liesl Tesch is continuing her quest for an elusive gold medal. Since retiring from wheelchair basketball and taking up sailing in January 2011, Liesl has already proven she is as adept at her new sport as she was at her old.
Partnered with Beijing silver medallist Daniel Fitzgibbon, the high profile pairing have already experienced considerable success, winning their first ever competition in the 2011 World Cup meets in Miami and Weymouth and taking home bronze in the 2011 World Championships. Capping an amazing first year of sailing for Liesl, she and Daniel were named 2011 Australian Sailors of the Year with a Disability.
The pair was at it again at the 2012 World Championships, claiming a bronze medal followed by gold at the ISAF World Cup to suggest they will be tough to beat at London 2012.
Before changing to sailing, Liesl was one of the most positive and driven players on the Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team. A bike accident in 1998 caused her to turn to wheelchair basketball. She piloted the Gliders to silver medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and was invited to play professionally in a men’s team in Europe. Liesl competed for teams in Madrid, Sardinia and Paris.
Aiming for gold, the Gliders left Beijing 2008 with a bronze medal which has only inspired Liesl to continue her dream of gold through sailing. By the end of her sporting career she hopes to have a Paralympic medal in every colour.
Never one to focus on the negative, she believes she has been given the opportunity to promote and encourage others to take an interest in wheelchair sports. She has established several basketball clinics for wheelchair users in third world countries in an effort to see those who would not necessarily have the opportunity reach their potential.