By Shane Jones
Reality still hasn’t sunk in for Bundy’s newest Paralympian, just weeks out from competing in her first Games.
Bundaberg’s Samantha Schmidt last week found out she was going to the Tokyo Paralympics next month.
She will compete in the F38 discus event after achieving the necessary A-grade qualifier.
Schmidt is the Australian record holder in that event, the javelin and the shot put in her category.
When she received an Australia Post parcel last week telling her she had made it, what she had achieved quickly dawned on her.
“Even when I got told I was in the team I didn’t believe it because it is not something someone can cope with overnight,” she said.
“We thought (the parcel) it was just another one of the shirts.
“I peeked open the box, saw the boarding pass and that was it, I dropped the box and I cried.
“It wasn’t a reality until last Wednesday (when the parcel came).”
The moment was 15 years in the making.
Schmidt at the age of 4 watched the Paralympics with her parents, and at the time they told her she could make it to the Games one day.
“I’m over the moon honestly,” she said.
“To actually achieve that dream of making it to Tokyo is crazy.”
Schmidt has cerebral palsy, which allows her to compete in the F38 class.
The 19-year-old focuses on the positives no matter her situation, and embraces every challenge thrown at her.
Now the goal is to do well and take in everything the Paralympics has to offer.
The coronavirus pandemic has prevented Schmidt from competing on the international stage in recent times, so Tokyo will be the first time she heads overseas to compete.
“I get to meet all the people that I’ve seen, I’ve seen the other girls’ results, so now I get to meet them, it will be really fun,” she said.
“I can do it (compete) and I will be able to be at my peak and give it my best and my all.”
The extra year for the games has helped Schmidt.
She’s gotten fitter and stronger, which has allowed her to improve her personal best to 33.60 metres.
Now she’s ready to give it her all in Tokyo but if she doesn’t medal it is not the end of the world.
“There’s two things I’d like to happen, the first is the experience because I’ve never competed internationally,” Schmidt said.
“And hopefully I can get a PB, that’s all I’m worried about.
“If I place that is just the cherry on the cake.”
Schmidt said focusing on one event would also help, compared to the usual three she competes in during state and national events.
“I do all the events because it keeps me active, keeps me motivated, but discus is my main event, the one I love the most,” she said.
“But the other two I really enjoy and the technique I use on those two help me with discus.”
Schmidt thanked the Bundaberg Athletic Club and West Bundaberg Little Athletics and the Jimboomba Athletics Club for getting her to where she was today.
She added that her coach Ralph Newton had been a great support as well.
Her mum Gemina Moore knows Samantha can impress at the Games.
“Samantha is all about adaptability,” she said.
“If she is told she can’t do anything, she’ll find a way to do it.”
Samantha will head to Cairns over the next couple of weeks for a training camp before heading to the Games.
Her campaign will start on 4 September.