No horsing around for Jan on Australia Day

When Paralympian and Lismore Australia Day ambassador Jan Pike (pictured) was growing up, she never imagined shed ever travel overseas, let alone represent her country on the world stage.Jan, a passionate horse lover, has had cerebal palsy since birth and worked with the Riding for Disabled Association for many years before being taken on as a student by Gill Rickard, now the national Paralympic dressage coach. The years of training under Gills guidance paid off in 2003, when Jan and her horse Dr Doulittle won two silver medals at the World Dressage Championships in Belgium, and she was selected to compete at the Paralympics in Athens in 2004. Being chosen for the team was a dream come true for Jan, and she says going on to win a silver and a bronze medal was the ultimate icing on the cake.When she gives her ambassadors address during Australia Day celebrations next Thursday, January 26, at Lismore City Hall, 53-year-old Jan hopes she can inspire others to strive for what they want regardless of the obstacles.No matter what youre race, creed, ability or disability in this country everyone can have a go, and Im a living example of that, Jan said. Going to the Paralympics was an amazing experience and in Australia, the best country in the world, everyone has the opportunity to make their dreams come true.Next Thursday will be Jans first time as an Australia Day ambassador and shes absolutely thrilled, as well as a little nervous. I feel so honoured to be asked to be an ambassador, and I just hope I do the position justice, Jan said. Ive been reading up on Lismore on the net and it sounds like a wonderful little cosmopolitan city in the heart of the country. Im really looking to this visit.For details on Australia Day celebrations happening around the region see the Australia Day feature on pages 12 and 13.


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