29 August 2012
Rachel Henderson is on a steep learning curve as she competes at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
The only South Australian member of the Goalball team, Henderson has had a meteoric rise in the sport. Having only started in Goalball two years ago, it wasn't long before her skills were recognised gaining national selection 18 months ago.
As the only member of the Goalball team in South Australia, Henderson who works in childcare, had endured an intense training and travel schedule in order to finalise her preparations for London.
"I had been leaving Adelaide every Thursday to join the rest of the team and then returning back on Sundays so that I could continue working and studying,"she said.
"It has been all very hectic."
In fact it was only just in the last couple of weeks before heading to London that she even let herself think about what she has achieved.
"Once we were tapering off with the training I started to allow myself to get excited about it all."
Making her Paralympic debut in London, Henderson has not been alone as all six members of the Australian Women's Goalball Team are debutants at this level. Currently ranked number nine in the world, Henderson said that the team was aiming to learn as much as they can while in London.
"We are one of the most inexperienced teams on the international scene at the moment,"she said. "Orignally we didn't expect to qualify for London, the aim was to prepare for Rio, but here we are.
"It really is going to be a steep learning curve."
Although Henderson and her fellow Goalballers have yet to win a match in London, the experience has been invaluable given their focus towards Rio. Their performances as the first Australian Goalball team to qualify for a Paralympic Games since Sydney in 2000, their performances have also helped to promote the sport in Australia.
Sitting in 5th position in Group D, unfortunately the team will not progress past the preliminary rounds with their final match being against Sweden at 10pm tonight (4 September).