The Athletics Project - Our Story
Next up in the Athletics Project - Our Story series is para athlete Kimberly Neary. Words we use to describe her...fierce, passionate, an advocate and supportive. Kim got introduced to track and field through a para TRY IT event last June. Less than a year into the sport and she's already making her mark. She has recruited fellow para athletes, secured indoor training space for her training group, broke some new records and will soon be helping us out with our after school programs. Lets get to know Kimberly a bit better!
ANS: How did you get involved in athletics?
KN: My wheelchair basketball coach had mentioned some of her other athletes had tried athletics and enjoyed it so I reached out to Parasport NS and history was made.
ANS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve gained from your coach so far?
KN: Show up- show up every chance you get to show yourself what you can do. Representation in the disabled community is also so important so showing up to show others they can is also important.
ANS: What has been a highlight of athletics for you so far?
KN: I’ve always known I was an athlete but I’ve also grown up with a disability and 30 yrs ago you either competed as an able bodied participant or you were handed a clip board and became the statistician or time keeper. But I knew if given even playing field I could be an athlete too so having this opportunity has been life changing. And at 40 yrs old I earned my first gold medal… and two more.
ANS: What other activities or pursuits are you involved with?
KN: I play wheelchair basketball and I do seated stick curling. I have a regular volunteer gig with the Eastlink sports crew. Also I spend a lot time advocating for accessibility awareness.
ANS: With all the things you are involved what is your priority?
KN: My throwing training has taken over. It’s right up there with my Eastlink gig.
ANS: Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?
KN: Coach Jodi (Langley) has been the best. She’s been so welcoming and understanding. I do have to say though the support from within our team and even other team who compete has been truly outstanding.
ANS: What do you see yourself accomplishing in next five to ten years?
KN: I plan on throwing in the 2028 Paralympics, and possibly a few more after that. So throwing in whatever competitions I need to, to progress my career.
ANS: A number of athletes have a quote or motto they follow to motivate them in life. Is there one quote or motto you follow that sums up the way you think?
KN: I am disabled not dead.
Thank you Kimberly for taking the time to share your passion for the sport of para athletics. Next up for Kimberly is a Athletics Canada National Para Classification (with 2 other para athletes) taking place in Halifax on Jan 20 and 21, 2023. Come watch her throw at the Canada Games Centre Saturday at 11am.