Diamond Valley Athletic Club’s 21 year old dual World Championship gold medallist Jaryd Clifford has been named in the first round of Australian Paralympic selections. The T12 1500m and 5000m World Champion, Tokyo 2021 will be Clifford’s second Paralympic berth.
“I’ve been in the high-performance system since my 13th birthday. I was told from the outset that Tokyo was the goal. Every year, every single run has been geared towards Tokyo. After the disappointment of this year, selection is something to celebrate.”
Clifford approaches Tokyo in career-best form, eager to improve upon his Rio 2016 campaign, where he placed seventh in both the 1500m and 5000m.
“Rio was about making it. Tokyo is about winning a gold medal, or maybe two. It’s been written on my whiteboard for nearly as long as I can remember. I know I can be the best in the world. Now I want to prove it on the biggest stage of them all.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected athletes in a variety of ways, with Clifford relocating to prioritise his training environment.
“The next year will be tough. I’ve relocated to Canberra indefinitely until I can move between states without doing hotel quarantine. I miss my family, my girlfriend, and my mates. But if this year has taught me anything it’s that you can’t take moments in your career for granted.”