Priya Cooper joins us as a patron

Priya Cooper joins us as a patron

We are very pleased to announce that Priya Cooper O.A.M., Young Australian of the Year for Sporting Achievment, has joined us as our Patron.

Priya Cooper is 37 years old and hails from Perth. Born with cerebral palsy, Priya began swimming at a young age for therapy and later realised her potential as a competitor.  In 1991 Priya was approached to represent Western Australia. Priya competed for the first time in the National Wheelchair Games winning a staggering 9 Gold Medals.

Priya went from success to success, winning 3 Gold and 2 Silver Medals breaking two world records and three paralympic records at the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992. On arriving back in Australia, she was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for her service to sport and became an Australia Day Ambassador.

Priya then set her sights on the World Swimming Championships in Malta in 1994. Being chosen as Captain of the team, Priya competed in 5 events. winning 5 Gold Medals and setting 4 World Records.

In 1995 Priya competed in the pre-Paralympic swimming trials in Atlanta, Georgia. She competed in 8 events and won 8 Gold Medals, setting one World record.

At the 10th Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996, Priya was selected as the female captain for the Australian team. She led the charge with 5 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Medal. She set 3 World records and 5 Paralympic records, far exceeding her efforts at Barcelona.

Priya again won the highest number of medals of any Australian athelete and as a result was chosen to carry the Australian flag at the Closing Ceremony -a fitting end to an outstanding Paralympic Games.

In May 1998 she competed in the British National Swimming Championships and won 4 Gold Medals, 1 Bronze Medal and set a world record. In 1999, Priya was named Young Australian of the Year for Sport.

Priya spent almost 2 years in Sydney prior to the 2000 Paralmpic Games, to concentrate on her training and her goal of winning gold for Australia at Sydney 2000. Despite recovering from a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, Priya achieved her aim. In October 2000 she won a Gold Medal in the 400m freestyle and 3 Bronze Medals at the Paralympics.

Priya now resides in Perth, WA, with her husband Rod, daughter Olivia and son Harrison.

Priya has completed a degree in Health Promotion and Journalism and is heavily involved in public speaking. She has addressed major Corporate and Government Conferences and events in Fiji, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Perth.

Priya is an excellent motivational speaker. In her presentation entitled 'Success Is Choice', she reminds us that any dream, large or small, personal or corporate, can come true with the strength of sheer determination. Priya received a standing ovation when she addressed a Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee function with over 800 people.

Priya's strength and determination are an inspiration to us and so many people and we are honoured that she has joined us as Patron.