Australia’s Cameron Carr (left) is knocked over by USA’s Andy Cohn during the gold medal match at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Canada last year.
Australia’s Cameron Carr (left) is knocked over by USA’s Andy Cohn during the gold medal match at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Canada last year. Darryl Dyck

Carr eyes gold

MURDERBALL sounds like a good sport to avoid but when you consider what wheelchair-bound athletes like Cameron Carr have overcome, you get the feeling it is right up their alley.

Carr, a former Springfield resident now living in Brisbane, is on the cusp of achieving his sporting goal, a "murderball", or as is more commonly known, wheelchair rugby gold medal at the London Olympics.

But it wasn't always that way. If not for a car accident 13 years ago, Carr may well be known as an NRL star rather than a Paralympian.

Carr became a quadriplegic when the driver of the car in which he was travelling home from a 21st birthday party fell asleep and crashed only 100 metres from his Brisbane home.

The accident occurred only days after the Queensland under-19s representative had signed a contract to play with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

After taking some time to adjust to his new life, Carr said watching the Australian team compete at the Sydney Paralympics sparked his enthusiasm for wheelchair rugby.

"I was watching it on TV at the Sydney 2000 Games and I decided it was a way to keep fit," Carr said.

"I really ended up enjoying it and then hearing all the travel tales about the places they go was a big carrot to get involved."

Not surprisingly the physical nature of the sport was something that attracted Carr.

"It's the only full contact wheelchair sport," he said.

"We can hit as hard as we want but we can't actually touch each other.

"The chairs are there to protect us

"There have been a few broken legs and sternums so you learn pretty quickly to get your fingers and hands out of the way."

Now 34, Carr was initially unsure he would stay in the sport until London after winning a silver medal with the Australian team at the Beijing Paralympics.

The experience in China followed by another runners-up performance at last year's world championships gave the Paralympian the drive he needed for one more shot at glory.

"The Chinese have set a standard, they were unbelievable," he said.

"All our games were sold out and I've heard recently all our games in London are also sold out.

"Last year's world champs was probably our best performance at a major meet.

"Unfortunately we left our worst performance for the final game.

"We were definitely the fittest team there.

"Hopefully we can capitalise on that in London."



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