Carlee Beattie of Australia competes on her way to victory in the women's long jump T47 final at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Carlee Beattie of Australia competes on her way to victory in the women's long jump T47 final at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Francois Nel

Gold would crown career for Carlee Beattie

Carlee Beattie is happy to play the part of role model.

Born with an underdeveloped left arm, the 33-year-old has become an inspiration to many throughout an athletics career that has seen her become a world champion long jumper.

"I just hope that I can help other people with a disability realise they are very capable and that having a disability doesn't have to prevent them from achieving what they want in life," she tells Australian Regional Media.

It certainly hasn't stopped the former Warwick girl, who is setting her sights on Paralympics gold in Rio.

You might say she is hoping it's a case of third-time lucky, but luck is unlikely to come into it.

Instead, it will take her skill and her preparation, both of which is first class.

After getting a taste of the Games in Beijing 2008, the now Brisbane-based athlete claimed silver in London 2012 in the long jump competition for those classified as having an amputation below the elbow or wrist.

Either side she also finished runner-up at world championships in Christchurch, New Zealand (2011) and Lyon, France (2013).

But she goes into her third Paralympics as the reigning world champion, having secured the crown in Doha, Qatar last year, and world record-holder after jumping 6.01m at the Sydney Track Classic in 2013.

A gold in Rio would be the crowning achievement.

"Standing on top of the podium and listening to your country's anthem is what we all dream of," she said.

"In fact, it's something that I dream about almost daily.

"It spurs me on."

Carlee Beattie after claiming the gold medal at the world championships in Doha last year.
Carlee Beattie after claiming the gold medal at the world championships in Doha last year.

No longer the bridesmaid, as she once described herself, Beattie now has a target on her back as the one to beat, but she is an older and wiser competitor head to Brazil.

"It feels very different. I put more pressure on myself in the lead up to London. I'm more relaxed and controlled this time," said Beattie, who wears a metal attachment on her left arm for balance.

Now focussing solely on long jump after years of juggling the 100m, Beattie has just completed "a great few weeks of training in Florida" which has capped her training under Gary Bourne.

The experienced Brisbane jumps coach recently saw two of his pupils, Henry Frayne and Chelsea Jaensch, reach the finals at the Olympics. "Gary is very knowledgeable ... I couldn't ask for a better coach," Beattie said.

Always athletic growing up, the 184cm Beattie was destined to be a star on the sporting field. It was just a matter of which one.

Back in Warwick she played hockey and netball, even representing the state in the latter in 2000.

"I grew up in a sporty family and I loved competing in athletics at school," she recalled.

"I was relatively successful and competed at several state titles with able-bodied kids.

"My inspiration was my drive for success. I wanted to make the most of the ability I was given," she said.

"I feel very blessed that I get to do what I love.

"There isn't many days I wake up and wish I was doing something else with my life.

"I had very supportive family and friends and never got bullied at school because of it. The schools I attended were always very supportive as well and not many people treated me any differently, because at the end of the day I'm very capable."

Women's T47-classified long jump, Friday morning (AEST)


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