Louise Sauvage, Alegandro Albor
Qualifying for World Championships
Being the first hand cyclist to represent Australia at a Paralympic Games
Although still in her 20s, Mel Leckie has achieved more than what some people dream of doing in a lifetime. She has overcome a fall which left her with complete paraplegia, is studying for a degree in education, is a qualified women’s artistic gymnastics judge and coach and is a Paralympic cyclist.
After acquiring her disability in 2001, Mel turned towards cycling for a new path to follow. The young athlete made her debut as an Australian hand-cyclist at the World Championships in France in 2007. It was here that she achieved two silver medals – an amazing achievement for a first time international cyclist.
Mel finished sixth in the time trial and eighth in the road race at the Beijing Paralympics and is pleased with her results considering she only took up the sport a year earlier. Although she did not medal, Mel retained her international standings and is now looking to London. Feeling she lacked international experience in the lead up to Beijing, Mel plans on competing at as many international events as she can in training for London. She is also considering rowing as a cross-training technique to build strength.
Often drawing on Louise Sauvage for inspiration, Mel hopes to follow in her footsteps in terms of success. As the first woman hand-cyclist in Australia to compete internationally and with the determination to win and the talent she holds, such a goal is in the making.