Wagga Wagga teenager Carly Salmon proved herself to be a Paralympic champion of the future when at the young age of 14, she stunned the world with stellar results at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in France.
Having celebrated her 14th birthday days prior, Carly broke an Australian record in the 100m T35 semi-final before breaking it once again in the final, to finish fifth. Two days later, she won bronze in the 200m, an incredible result for her first international competition.
Carly first got involved in Para-Athletics as an eight-year-old, when her PE teacher saw her potential in sport and encouraged her to take part in local Athletes with a Disability competitions. Although she was born with cerebral palsy which affects the left side of her body, she never saw herself as someone with a disability but thrived on the opportunity to compete and in 2012 got internationally classified, which opened new doors.
When training for Rio, the Mater Dei Catholic College student turned to Paralympic gold medallist and 2013 World Championship teammate Kelly Cartwright for inspiration. Listing Kelly’s win in the long jump at London 2012 as her greatest sporting moment, Carly was honoured to compete alongside the champion in France and meeting her was the moment she realised she had the potential to go far in her sport. She says Kelly also provided her with great support in France and her training ethic has been a huge motivator in getting her to where she is today.
But Carly missed selection for Rio. A few months after the Games, she spoke of her disappointment and had thoughts of quitting Para-Athletics.
But she was determined to return to the national team, and she did in 2017, selected for the London World Para Athletics Championships. Competing in the T35 100m and 200m, she placed sixth with the highlight a PB of 15.92 in the 100m. The depth of Australia in this event was on show with three athletes in the top-six.
Her PB form in London and a total of eight qualifying marks, earned Carly a place on the Australian team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the T35 100m
Outside of sport, Carly likes to spend time with her friends and family, as well as volunteering for Family Link where she looks after children with special needs. In ten years’ time, she hopes to be juggling her thriving athletics career while working with kids with a disability.
Carly’s ultimate goal in life is to make a difference. With her potential in Para-sport apparent and her career ambitions, she is on her way to doing just that.