Inaugural Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipient Alissa Jordaan can’t wait to “leave it all out on the track” as she prepares for her debut Paralympics as a member of the Australian athletics squad.
A rising star of the track Alissa Jordaan will be one to watch in the women’s T47 400m race at the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Heading to the Games in great form, the 18-year-old is beyond proud to have earned the opportunity to represent her country.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Jordaan told Commonwealth Games Australia.
“But I look at the reaction of my parents, my close friends and family and I can see how much it means to them and how proud they are which makes me feel extremely humbled and proud.
“I’m not only representing myself but all of them as well as my country, so It’s a pretty cool achievement.
Jordaan at the Inaugural Kurt Fearnley Scholarship event in 2019.
Jordaan has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years since being named as one of the inaugural members of the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship, receiving the award in 2019.
The Kurt Fearnley Scholarship is a partnership between Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW.
The scholarship is named in honour of para-sport legend Kurt Fearnley AO and provides financial support to talented individual para-sport athletes based in NSW, with not only financial support but also training support from the New South Wales Institute of Sport, and guidance and advice from the legend Kurt Fearnley himself.
“Firstly, knowing that I could talk to Kurt Fearnley and that he was a part of my support network for athletics was enough in itself,” Jordaan said.
“He is such an inspiration to me. I had his number in my phone and I could just contact him and talk to him about any little questions I had and that meant a lot to me to know I have his support.”
“Also, the financial aid that the scholarship brought, it paid for a two-week training camp at the Gold Coast and some new training equipment.
“It funded a trip to Western Australia to compete at All Schools Nationals, so it was a massive help and it kind of kept things going and helped a lot.”
Kurt Fearnley imparting some wisdom on Jordaan.
The training and support through the scholarship has brought about tremendous results for the talented sprinter.
In November 2020, Jordaan became the first Australian female T47 (upper limb impairment) to run the 400m in under 60 seconds – clocking in at 59:69 seconds at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Then, at the 2021 Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney, she broke the Australian T47 400m track record to take gold and booked her ticket to Tokyo.
“I’m hoping to run even better than that at the games,” Jordaan said.
“It’s a totally different ballgame when you actually get there. We’ve been training well and trying to keep up the good times. So now we just try to put it all together and see how it goes.”
Jordaan’s preparation has included mixing it with some of Australia’s best Para-athletics athletes, something she believes will hold her in good stead for the Tokyo Games.
“People like Vanessa Low, Scotty Reardon and Chad Perris,” Jordaan said.
“I get to see them every day at training now and it’s just nice to have them around and see how they train.
“Watching them can help prepare me as well, so I can see how it goes and see how they handle things. I think it sets me up to perform well.”
The rising star is staying grounded for her first Games but is still going there with the mindset to perform at her very best.
“I’m trying not to go into it with crazy expectations,” she said.
“As it’s my first Games, I just really want to soak up the experience but obviously I’m going to give it my very best shot.
All my training and everything has led up to this moment so I’m going to leave it all out on the track there.”