By Amanda Lulham
KATE Doughty is living proof dreams do come true. They just might take a while.
In triathlete Doughty's case it has taken 25 years for her to realise her dream of racing for Australia in Rio later this year.
And her path to the Paralympics has had more stumbling blocks than most, including two failed attempts in another sport, a retirement, the death of her mother and the challenge of transforming herself from a rookie triathlete to games medal hopeful in the span of just two years.
Not bad for a 32-year-old who as a kid used to wag PE because she hated sport so much but still dreamt her passion for equestrian would see her one day race at the highest level in the sport.
"It's been quite a journey,'' said Doughty, who will be nominated to race when triathlon makes its debut on the Paralympic Games program in Rio later this year after winning a final trial at Penrith on Sunday.
"I guess it shows you should just never give up. If you don't, you might still get there. It just might be different to the way you originally planned.''
The performance psychologist, who was born without a right hand, has a tattoo of a dragonfly, a symbol of strength, on her wrist to remind her of her mother who died from breast cancer.
On Sunday, just after finishing her race and earning Paralympic nomination, a dragon fly landed at her feet.
"That just show me she is with me for this,'' an emotional Doughty said.
Doughty only learned how to change gears on a bike when she took up triathlons two years ago.
In an extraordinary progression through the sport she has since emerged as a major contender for a medal for Australia in the PT4 class in Rio.
"For some reason I always really admired triathletes and that's why I decide to give it a go,'' she said.
"But when I started I really had no idea. It's been a pretty wonderful journey.''
Also ticking the box for the Paralympics was five-time world champion Bill Chaffey (PT1) and 2015 world championship sixth placegetter Brant Garvey (PT2).
Chaffey and Doughty won their categories at Penrith with Garvey finishing second.
Chaffey is one of the best known para-triathletes in the world.
The 40-year-old was hit by a truck while training in 2005 and became an incomplete paraplegic.
Since then he has won world triathlon crowns in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
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