Former paralympian donates prized possessions for NSW fireys
FIVE-time Paralympic gold medalist Rodney Nugent has pledged two of his most valuable pieces of memorabilia to raffle off in support of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The 51-year-old, who won gold in long jump, triple jump, 4 x 100 m relay and 4 x 400m relay at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics and gold in the 4 x 100m relay at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, has offered up a custom-made jacket from the Seoul Games and his national tracksuit from the Barcelona.
Nugent, who lives at Lake Cathie on the Mid North Coast, is in his original hometown of Grafton as a special guest for tonight's Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club.
Nugent was the most prolific winner of The Daily Examiner Sports Star of the Year of all-time, winning the award in 1986, 87 and 88.
As fires rage through the Clarence Valley and across the state, Nugent felt it was an appropriate way to acknowledge the RFS after he was directly impacted by the devastation of bush fire recently.
"I live in Lake Cathie down near Port Macquarie and I'm also the president of Lake Cathie Bonny Hills Junior Rugby League Club. We had massive fires down there a couple of weeks ago and the RFS actually saved our facilities and so many houses close to the football field as well," Nugent said.
"Over the last 24 hours it's just been a whirlwind of fires and these fire fighters and volunteers are putting their life on the line to save other people's properties."
The gesture is just a small way Nugent is hoping to give back to the community that helped him go so far in his career.
"I didn't get to realise my goals and dreams without community support so this is me trying to help repay those who do so much for us. Whether it's in Lake Cathie, Port Macquarie or even here in Grafton, I feel that maybe I can raise a few hundred dollars to go towards helping those firies and help give back to the community again," he said.
"They're really prized possessions that I've decided to give up. One is my last tracksuit that I wore at the Paralympics in Barcelona. I wore it when we got the gold medal in the 4x100m relay and broke the world record in. It holds a lot of sentimental value to me but if I can raise some money for a good cause it will be well worth it.
"The other jacket I had made up at my first Paralympic games in Seoul, South Korea. I wanted something individual and this is a one of a kind memento. Once again it's very close to my heart but I think it can serve a better purpose in raising money for the RFS. It's an honour to be able to have these things to donate and I hope I can help out in some small way."
Nugent will be a guest speaker for the Clarence Valley Sports Awards at the GDSC tonight. Tickets are $35 and available at the door for a 6pm start.