Colin Sieders is one of Australia’s new hopes for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Competing in the K1 and V1 sprint classes, Colin has already attained his goal of an Australian title at the national championships in Perth.
Colin survived a near fatal motor accident when he was only 15. After 88 days in intensive care, 51 weeks in hospital and 30 operations he was told he would never walk again. Today he is showing the world what he is made of in numerous areas of his life, and is aiming to compete at the Paralympics.
Colin puts in the hard yards to achieve his dreams. He trains 5-7 sessions each week on the water and 3-4 in the gym. On top of this, he works full time running his business, has had a career as a V8 racing car driver, and is raising his three year old daughter with his wife Erin. Colin also helps run a V8 racing team with his brothers and helps promote CareFlight, the aeromedical care company who are the reason he is still alive today.
Colin has had a successful career as a V8 racer, and although he is now focusing his energy on paddling, he hopes to one day get back into his race car. Colin was the first permanently disabled driver to race in the National Motorsport Championship and in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Development Series. In 2004 he took Pole Position at Sandown, and set a race lap record on the streets of Adelaide.
"I'm not driving at the moment, I had a second car accident on December 22-2011 doing our last delivery for the year, a truck came on to my side of the road and we had a head on, until that day I was able to walk unaided, now I am back in a wheel chair after I received injuries to my good hip."
Like anybody who has so many commitments and is successful in life, Colin has a very supportive family, to whom he is very grateful.
“To be an elite athlete you have to be a bit selfish, if you don’t put in the effort you just won’t make it. If I didn’t have a very understanding wife and family, I just wouldn’t be able to put in the hours…”
Colin lives in Londonderry, and started paddling in August 2012. He works closely with his coach Sam Norton, of Fitlife Professional Training. Sam has been an elite canoe slalom athlete, and is listed as one of the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers’ top ten personal trainers in country. It seems that it’s not only Colin who learns from Sam, the personal trainer is clearly inspired by Colin’s tenacity.
“I have learnt a lot from Colin, to see the opportunities in your life and how to be able to manage pain in your mind.”
Norton reminds us that Colin’s achievements require more than the normal amount of dedication.
“There have been many mornings when we have trained and Colin has had no sleep due to nerve shocks in his body. You must have a challenge bigger than yourself to want to get up out of bed every day.”
Colin certainly sets himself challenges that could be enough to move us all out of bed. His list reads like a step-by-step guide to athletic superstardom. First, make the Australian team at the national selection races in June, where he needs to win two races in each class. Next, make the final at this year’s World Championships in Germany, go on to break the world record for 200m K1 and V1 and last but not least, win a gold medal at the Rio Paralympic Games. Living a happy and healthy life with his family is also high on Colin’s list of priorities.
Given his track record we can only believe Colin will achieve what he has set out to do.
We asked Colin a couple of questions to find out what makes this amazing man tick-
Full name: Colin Sieders
Lives in: Londonderry, NSW
Previous results: 2 Aussie Titles in the 500m and 1000m, second in the 200m
Did you enjoy kayaking when you first started? Yes I did, I love being out on the water and always have been a water lover.
Tell me about your best experience on the water– breaking the 60seconds at GP3 was great I wasn’t expecting to do it so it was a great surprise and winning the 2 Aussie titles in Perth.
What music do you listen to when you're exercising? At the moment nothing except what is playing at the gym, my Iphone is broken. But generally rock, Foo Fighters Pearl Jam…
If you could go for a paddle with anyone in the world, who would you pick? Fernando Fernandez, he’s the best in my Class, or Kenny Wallace.
What advice would you give somebody who wants to start paddling? Go for it, it has a feeling of being free and it’s also very peaceful. .
Who or what inspires you? In Motor sport it was Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes. They are the best in the business. Kayaking and in general life- Alex Zanardi. He lost his legs in a motor racing accident, he made a return to racing a few years later and then became a hand cyclist and won 2 gold medals at the 2012 London games.