Local Invictus champion up for award

Jake DietschSound Telegraph
Mark Daniels competing in wheelchair rugby.
Camera IconMark Daniels competing in wheelchair rugby. Credit: Defence Australia.

An inspirational young local has been honoured for his triumph over adversity.

Twenty-six-year-old Wandi resident Mark Daniels lost his leg in a motorbike accident in 2015 but has emerged from that setback to achieve global success.

Mr Daniels has been nominated for the 2020 Surge Fitness Sports Award in the 7News Young Achiever Awards.

The dedicated sportsman and navy veteran appeared on Season 2 and Season 3 of Australian Ninja Warrior.

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At the 2018 Invictus Games he won the gold medal in wheelchair rugby and the bronze medal in indoor rowing and at the 2019 Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida, he brought home three gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze medals in cycling, wheelchair rugby, swimming and Indoor rowing.

His next goal is to make it to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands later this year and to compete on the next season of Ninja Warrior. Mr Daniels has previously reached the grand final of the achiever awards and said he was “very honoured” to be recognised again.

“I think as someone with a disability, we find it really hard to find role models for the younger generation,” he said.

“It’s really important to have that representation within our community.

“You look at TV and you usually only see fully able-bodied people. You don't normally see people with missing legs or in wheelchairs doing high level sports.

“It’s a showcase of what is possible.”

Mr Daniels has used his sporting success to encourage other people with disabilities to push their limitations at events such as Tough Mudder.

The nominee said he had received great support from communities in the Rockingham area, with the Baldivis Lions raising money to fund his prosthetics.

“My family has also been a major part of my journey. My partner Cayley (Jones) has been crucial in putting up with my hard days,” Mr Daniels said.

“As much as what people see on social media of all of the highs, that only comes from her picking me up after surgery and looking after me when I’m back in a wheelchair and not able to look after myself.”

Judging for the achiever awards will take place next month, before winners are announced in June.

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