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January 14, 2005

Battling rider enjoys a gold rush

From: The Age, Australia - Jan 14, 2005

By Stathi Paxinos
January 14, 2005

Australian Deaflympics cyclist Reece-Emerson van Beek, based in Ballarat for the road cycling competition, has spent the past week striving to hear news about the action in Melbourne. But it was his success in the road racing in the gold rush town that has been the talk of the Australian team.

Van Beek won gold medals in the 32-kilometre time trial and 50-kilometre points race and his journey to the Deaflympics success was even more marked because it was punctuated not only by the usual spills associated with road racing but also by a bad training accident that kept him out of action for nearly two years.

The 22-year-old chef developed vertigo and had treatment.

"I was doing a training ride and a car on the other side of the road wanted to turn right across tram tracks; it didn't see me at all and I just went straight into it," van Beek said.

"I went to hospital and the doctor said that I was OK, but the next day, I started to get really dizzy. For about two weeks, I didn't know where I was or what was happening."

The Deaflympics was the first time that van Beek and teammate Jarrod Denman, who won the silver in the 50-kilometre points race, had ridden in a deaf competition.

"I'd like to maybe go into a hearing professional cycling team to really improve and climb up the ladder a bit," van Beek said.

Denman yesterday said he was ecstatic with winning the silver. He and van Beek worked together to snatch second place from American Trevor Kosa and felt proud that he had achieved the success with his parents, who had come down from Queensland, watching.

Meanwhile, Australia's sole wrestling representative, 44-year-old Milton Reedy, lost his 120-kilogram freestyle event bronze medal match. South Africa's Terence Parkin, who won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in the 200 breaststroke, last night claimed his ninth gold medal of the championships in the 200 butterfly. Water polo heavyweights Hungary and Germany will meet in today's final after beating the US (19-5) and Italy (7-4) respectively.

Copyright © 2005. The Age Company Ltd.