Northern Territory athlete Emily Tapp has won silver in the paratriathlon at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Speaking after the victory, the 26-year-old said she was pushed to breaking point.
“It’s a very surreal feeling,” Tapp told the ABC.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time and now that its finally arrived and its all done, it’s celebration time.
“I always knew I’d been pushed to my absolute breaking point and I was; and to come away with a silver is absolutely fantastic.”
Tapp said the enthusiasm of the crowd helped her push through.
Emily Tapp says cheers from the crowd throughout the race helped her push through. (Twitter: AUSParalympics)
“I think that’s all I heard [cheers from the crowd],” she said.
“It sort of drums out all the pain and all the exhaustion that’s going through your body at the moment … and even walking down to the pontoon and having my family right there on the sideline was incredible.”
While she was happy with her performance, Tapp said it was not the perfect race.
“I performed to the best to the best of my ability and the competition is fierce,” she said.
“I’ve been told by a very experience athlete that if you’ve had the perfect race then you’re pretty much done with your career, so I think you can always find something to improve on.”
Campdrafting accident left Tapp paraplegic in 2011
Emily Tapp won her first championship in 2015, after becoming a paraplegic in 2011. (Supplied: Triathlon Australia)
Tapp was barely 20 when a campdrafting accident left her with a fractured vertebrae and paraplegia.
After months of specialist therapy and rehabilitation, Tapp gave para-athletics a shot, after having no prior experience.
Just four years after having to re-learn what she described as day-to-day life skills, Tapp won her first paratriathlon title at the 2015 Oceania Paratriathlon Championships in Penrith, Sydney.
Tapp then qualified to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, but was forced to withdraw after suffering third-degree burns on her shin while coming into contact with an oil heater in Canberra.
But her aspirations got back on track when the champion qualified for the Commonwealth Games and has now claimed a silver medal.
Fellow Australian Lauren Parker won bronze in the women’s event.
Tapp comes from a well-known cattle family from the Katherine region who were on the sideline for the race, and watching around the country.
Tapp’s aunty Toni Tapp Coutts said that after missing out on making it to the Rio Olympics, it was an incredible moment for the young athlete.
“[It is] just so exciting, and there was so many Facebook messages going backwards and forwards and posts and messages on the phone,” Ms Coutts said.
“It was just wonderful and it was just wonderful and wonderful that so many of the family went down to watch her.”