News

These Paralympics heroes are also Big Issue sellers

Paralympian titans Lachlan Jones and Murray Goldfinch, also Big Issue vendors, reflect on the moments on the moments they reached sporting glory.

The 2021 Paralympic Games are under way in Tokyo, pitting athletes with an impairment against the clock and against each other to achieve sporting glory. Lachlan Jones and Murray Goldfinch brought home medals for Australia at previous Paralympics. They also happen to sell The Big Issue in Australia. Here they share their moments of sporting glory.

Lachlan Jones, wheelchair racer

SPORT 1475
Lachlan, OAM showing off his Olympic gold medal. Image courtesy of The Big Issue Australia / photo: James Braund

Lachlan won the gold medal and achieved a world record in the T32 100m at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, and competed in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, 2004 Athens Paralympics

Winning gold at the Atlanta Paralympics in the men’s T32 100m was the biggest achievement of my life. To this day, I still don’t know how I won the gold medal in the state I was in. I had a headache, and I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent. It could’ve been anyone’s race – but it just happened that I got to the end first. It felt awesome. They presented me with the medal and I sang as the Australian anthem played. It gave me confidence that anything is possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz5FggQGhKs

I started racing when I was 18 or 19. Before then, I was with the Special Olympics doing swimming for a little while, but my pelvis started giving out on me, so my parents brought home some information about other sports I might be interested in.

I actually did powerlifting for a little while. As much as I hate to admit it, I was Australian champion – a one‑hit wonder – in powerlifting.

Being a Paralympian was a full‑time job. I had a scholarship to the Victorian Institute of Sport. I had to get up early in the morning; I was training six days a week, eating pasta and meat and veg. You have to sacrifice pretty much everything.

After Atlanta, they changed the classification, so I had to race as a T52. I knew I wasn’t going to win in Sydney, but I was in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. I went to Athens and did a PB there.

I’ve overcome many challenges, like people saying, “Oh no, it’s too dangerous,” or “You can’t do this” – they think because I’m disabled I’m going to get hurt, but I’ve proven them wrong.

Lachlan sells The Big Issue in Carnegie, Melbourne, Australia

Murray Goldfinch, men’s shot put and javelin

Murray won the bronze medal in shot put F20 2000 Sydney Paralympics

AussieParalympians_Murray-Sydney_1475-1
Murray 2000 Sydney Paralympics. Image courtesy of The Big Issue Australia / photo: Pew Pew Studio

I was the youngest on the team in 2000 – I was 16 when I went to Sydney for the Paralympics to compete in F20 shot put.

Before that, I was training every day with the Australian Institute of Sport. It’s a hectic schedule, when they’ve got you on scholarship. They push you. I’ve travelled to Germany, Brazil, Spain, Kuala Lumpur, Argentina – all to compete. I’ve held a world record and won gold at world championships in shot put and discus.

The Sydney Paralympics was a really good atmosphere, lots of different cultures. Seeing Kylie Minogue sing at the Opening Ceremony was a highlight – and The Whitlams, that was pretty cool. I watched a few events too – murderball [wheelchair rugby] and wheelchair basketball. It was a social atmosphere so I got to meet lots of different people.

When I was competing in the shot put, after about the fourth throw, I thought, “Yeah, I’m doing pretty well,” since I had a knee injury about three months beforehand. I got third.

Receiving my medal was awesome – I don’t have words to describe it. It was a very good memory. I keep all my medals and trophies locked away, very tight.

I’m Australian, and I represented Australia. I loved it.

Murray sells The Big Issue at various locations around Canberra

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
AI in schools: Bullies using AI to create sexually explicit images of classmates, parents warned
Artificial Intelligence

AI in schools: Bullies using AI to create sexually explicit images of classmates, parents warned

'Get a grip' and act on reality, not prejudice, MP Liam Fox tells his Tory colleagues
Liam Fox
Politics

'Get a grip' and act on reality, not prejudice, MP Liam Fox tells his Tory colleagues

Why the general election could and should be fought on the frontier of poverty
Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner on the first day of the general election campaign
General election 2024

Why the general election could and should be fought on the frontier of poverty

From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule
General Election 2024

From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know