BUSY: Sailing gold medalist Liesl Tesch with Mark Tonga from the disability council of New South Wales share a moment at the welcome home ceremony for the Australian Paralympic team in Sydney on October 4. Picture: Brook Mitchell.Fresh from major accolades in two sports and only six weeks afterwrapping up her own 24-year Paralympic career Liesl Tesch has launched a national mentor program for potential disabled athletes.
The 47-year-old, who was raised on Lake Macquarie, received the prestigious president’s award at the Sailing Australia presentation held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
This follows her induction into the Basketball Australia hall of fame earlier this month.
Tesch collected five medals across seven her seven Paralympic campaigns between 1992 and 2016, including two silver and a bronze for women’s wheelchair basketball and most recently back-to-back gold in the mixed two-person sailing SKUD18 division.
OUT OF WATER: Liesl Tesch as part of the national team at the Sailing Australia awards held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night. Picture: Twitter.
Now, via the Paralympic Mentoring Program, she wants to share thatexperience and her contacts with others aspiring to follow a similar path.
“The program will support future para athletes, young people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth across Australia,” Tesch wrote on her online gofundme page.
“Potential para athletes will connect with experienced Aussie Paralympians during a period of three months.
“Champion Paralympians will share their tips on how to be a successful athlete, setting goals and coordinating resources, social media andmedia-savvy tips, negotiating sponsorship deals, overcoming challenges and more.
“Mentors will be goal-oriented, regionally basedand allow future champions to work with their Paralympic heroes(often with similar disabilities) to assist in positively breaking down barriers to success.”
Tesch was inducted into the Hunter sporting hall of fame earlier this year before departing for the Paralympics in Rio.