Beijing 2008: Tahlia Rotumah – Paralympic sprinter
Tahlia Rotumah is a Minyanbal woman from Tweed Heads in NSW. She became the first Indigenous woman to represent Australia at the Paralympics in a track and field event when she competed in Beijing in 2008. She is also a South Sea Islander.
Born with hemiplegia and cerebral palsy she competed in the 100 and 200 m sprint events in 2008. She won silver medals in the events at the 2006 Far East and South Pacific Games.
Journalist Karla Grant presents this story on Indigenous current affairs program Living Black. Chris Flanders is the videographer.
This profile differs from the brief segments we see on TV news coverage. Rather than simply covering one event or a particular win, it’s a chance to get to know the athlete and we see Tahlia at home with her grandmother, at school, in training and competing as well as hearing from her about her experiences.
The inclusion of expert Janine Jones talking about the causes of cerebral palsy gives the piece an educational flavour.
Tracy Barrell was the first Indigenous woman to represent Australia at the Paralympics in swimming at the Barcelona 1992 Games. Other prominent Indigenous Paralympians include Peter Kirby, Ben Austin OAM, Kevin Coombs OAM, Warren Lawton OAM, Karl Feifar OAM and Donna Burns OAM.
Excerpt from Living Black, 16 March 2009.