Tasmanians at the 2020 Paralympics

Three Tasmanians covering the full experience spectrum will represent Tasmania at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Rower Alexandra Viney will kick off the state’s involvement at her first Games just three years after beginning para sport, before handing over to veteran shot putter Todd Hodgetts chasing a third consecutive Paralympic medal.

Middle distance runner Deon Kenzie completes the picture at his second Games, also hoping to build on a medal from Rio.

Between them, the trio could be in action on six days of the Games which begin on Tuesday 24 August and run until Sunday 5 September.

Viney is a member of the PR3 mixed coxed four with Nikki Ayers (ACT), Thomas Birtwhistle (NSW), James Talbot (NSW) and cox Renae Domaschenz (ACT) which begins its campaign on Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway with heats on Friday morning.

Repechage is scheduled to run a day later with finals on Sunday.

Launceston-born Viney, 29, began rowing at Launceston Grammar and is now a member of Mercantile RC having moved to Melbourne to study for a Master of Business (sports management) at Deakin University.

Left with impairments to her left elbow, forearm and hand by a car accident in 2010, Viney began her journey as a para-athlete in November 2018.

She was selected for the Australian senior para-rowing team in February 2019 and helped the PR3 mixed coxed four finish first in the national championships, second at the Gavirate International Para Regatta and fourth at her first world championships.

Viney also claimed a second national title in the PR3 women’s coxless pair.

Hodgetts will be hoping to expand an impressive international record at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, August 31, when he competes in the final of the F20 shot put (for athletes with an intellectual impairment).

Also now based in Melbourne, the Launceston-born athlete, who is a member of Newstead and Ringwood athletic clubs, announced himself at the 2012 Paralympic Games where he claimed gold with a world record in front of 80,000 spectators at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Hodgetts went on to add a bronze medal in Rio and has also enjoyed success at world championship level by winning in 2015, coming third in 2013 and 2017 and ninth in 2019.

Hodgetts, 33, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to sport in 2014 and was Athletics Australia male para athlete of the year in 2015.

Kenzie is staying in Cairns until the last week of the Games as the heats for his T38 1500m are not until Friday, September 3, with the final the following night.

Born in Devonport with cerebral palsy affecting the right side of his body, the 25-year-old from Forth is a member of both the North West Athletic Club and Canberra Redbacks having relocated to the ACT to train with Philo Saunders.

Like Hodgetts, Kenzie has competed at the last four IPC world championships, winning the 1500m and coming second in the 800m in 2017 while also claiming 1500m bronze medals in 2013, ’15 and ’19 and coming seventh in the 800m in 2015.

He claimed the silver medal over 1500m at his previous Paralympic Games in 2016.