Rocky born athlete is preparing for the Paralympic Olympics

JUST over a year ago, Rockhampton-born athlete David Nicholas was battling a life-threatening bout of pneumonia.

Today the 24-year-old is preparing for his second Paralympics after being named in the Australian cycling team to compete in Rio in September.

Nicholas (pictured) made his Paralympic debut at the London Games in 2012, winning gold in the individual time trial and bronze in the road race in the C3 class.

"It feels great to be heading to my second Paralympic Games.

"To represent my country at this high level, it's an honour," said Nicholas, who now calls Proserpine home.

"It's an achievement just to make the team and compete, but I'd like to repeat my London 2012 performance and come home with a medal.

"Ever since the London 2012 Paralympics where I won gold in the time trial, a medal has been a big motivator for me in trying to get to Rio and do it again." 

Nicholas was born with cerebral palsy.

He missed the 2015 Para-cycling Track World Championships after being struck down with pneumonia.

He made his comeback to his sport at the 2016 Para-cycling Track World Championships where he won silver in the 3km individual pursuit, proving he has the talent to make an impact in Rio.

"I was very disappointed that I had to miss that event.

Ever since then I have been motivated to get back to full fitness to complete at the highest level again," Nicholas said.

"I am looking forward to putting on the green and gold skin suit on race day and testing myself against the world's best."

Traditionally one of the country's most popular sports at the Paralympic Games, Australia has enjoyed huge success in cycling, having won 34 gold, 24 silver and 26 bronze since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. 

Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic team Kate McLoughlin hopes the tally can continue to grow in Rio.

"A reigning Paralympic champion, I look forward to seeing David on the track in Rio, and hopefully standing atop of the podium," she said. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be held from September 7 to 18.  

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