Name: Emily Rycken
Pursuit: Para Canoeing
My name is Emily Rycken and I am 15 years old. My dream is to one day compete in Para Canoeing at the Paralympics. I started kayaking with my school team in 2009 where I made many friends but left to join a Para Canoe squad in 2012 where training became a lot more frequent and serious. Joining this team also came with the hope that as I develop my skills and fitness, I will go on to represent at many different levels including the World Championships and eventually the Paralympics. With the support of Aim for the Stars I have Rio in 2016 firmly in my sights.
When did you start?
During 2009 with my school team although I was lucky enough to begin serious training in 2012 with a Para Canoe squad.
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
Placing 2nd in the women's Para Canoe 500m event at GP2 with a new personal best time, alongside many of my teammates.
What is your dream?
To make the 2016/2020 Paralympics and represent Australia in the women's Para Canoe 200m/500m events. I also hope to be able to inspire others that they are capable of so much more than they think, despite any disabilities they may have.
Who or what have inspired you?
That would certainly be my family, friends and teammates. They all do the best they can to help me out whenever I need, especially at times after I've had surgery or have another form of injury. Whether its sharing a laugh or carrying my boat down to the water at training every single week, they're always willing to help.
Who's your hero?
Bethany Hamilton - she refused to give up on her ability despite the hardships she faced.
Any other special talents?
Piano, and I'm really good on crutches!
Mostly alternative, particularly Josh Pyke and San Cisco.
(500) Days of Summer
Favourite TV Show?
Passionfruit, raspberries - anything sweet.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
The money will allow me to this year travel to the National Kayaking Championships in Adelaide, where hopefully I will be able to record a new personal best. The grant will also help to assist me with my other travel expenses and race entry fees, most competitions are interstate so there is a lot of driving and a need for accommodation.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
'You are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.' - Oscar Pistorius