Newcastle paratriathlete Lauren Parker set for Commonwealth Games debut

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Lauren Parker makes royal impression ahead of Games debut ROYAL ENCOUNTER: Lauren Parker poses for a photo with the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, Prince Charles, and support crew Brad Fernley and Dave Robertson.
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NATIONAL ATTENTION: Lauren Parker and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

INSPIRING: Lauren Parker will represent less than 12 months after a life-changing training accident. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookLauren Parker makes royal impression ahead of Games debuthttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd老域名出售/transform/v1/crop/frm/ikLFZZUcNnvgygfqz78ZET/f8d1992f-08c6-4499-ae64-99481ad699c9.jpg/r0_222_5120_3115_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg”Prince Charles said to me it was nice to hear something good coming out of a bad thing like Lauren’s accident.”news, local-news, 2018-04-07T05:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove老域名出售/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5765038278001https://players.brightcove老域名出售/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5765038278001Lauren Parker’s selfie with Primer Minister Malcolm Turnbull“We were waiting in an area where guests and visitors pick up their access passes and then all of a sudden there were police and AFP [n Federal Police]-looking people with earpieces everywhere,” Robertson said.

“I thought someone important must be on their way. We waited for about 45 minutes then Prince Charles and Camilla came through. Brad had teed up for them to have a chat with Lauren.

“I asked for a selfie and the AFP said, ‘No’, but Prince Charles said, ‘Yes’. I thought we’d better go with a formal photo instead.”

It is nearly 12 months since Parker crashed during a routine training ride and was left paralysed from the waist down.

At the time she was in the final stages of preparation for the Ausralian Ironman Triathlon in Port Macquarie and was eyeing a podium finish.

Read more: Newcastle triathlete in fight ofher life

“They just asked what sport I did and I told them paratriathlon and that I’d only been doing it for three months,” Parker said.

“They wanted to know about my accident and I told them my story and they said it was a really good accomplishment to be here.”

Her comeback to competition after being told she had a one per cent chance of ever walking again was not lost on the royals.

“Prince Charles said to me it was nice to hear something good coming out of a bad thing like Lauren’s accident,” Fernley, who was with Parker on the day of her accident and has been with her every step of the way through rehabilitation,said.

“He said it was an incredible story and something like with all of the bad things happening around the world it was nice to hear a good story like Lauren’s.”

INSPIRING: Newcastle’s Lauren Parker will chase a podium position in the women’s paratriathlon in her Commonwealth Games debut on Saturday. Picture: Simone De Peak

When Parker lines up for the women’s paratriathlon, it will be more than just a race.

The 29-year-old’s competitive nature will not stop her striving for the podium, but the result will be irrelevant.

Read more: Parker named in Games team

Beingon the start line feels like the beginning of a new journey for Parker, who also has aspirations to compete at theParalympics.

“I’m pretty excited and I’m feeling good,” she said.

“Training has been good. I’ve been feeling the best I have felt. I got surprised with a new racing chair at my [fundraising] ball from my sponsors. That has made such a difference, I’ve knocked 15 seconds over 500 metres.That’s pretty big and I’m excited to see what I can do with it.

“I’ll be happy with whatever result I get because I just want to do my best. I believe in myself, I believe I have a good chance of winning but I have to do all of the little things right so things go to plan. I’m just staying positive and I’m just going to have fun.”

Read more: Triathlete’s inspiring comeback from crash

Parker will have a throng of supporters trackside on Saturday and hopes to be a source of inspiration to others.

“That is what I really want to do, inspire as many people as I can from what I’ve been through and in terms of how positive I am and I can take something from it,” she said.

“I’ve got so many friends and family come up here to watch, so it’s really special and I’m hoping to have a great race.

“It’s still surreal. I think it will set in once I’m on the start line. It’s something that I’ll never forget, the first major event doing CommonwealthGames after my accident.”

Parker’s race is a 9.30am.

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