Working with athletes

Classification manager: Anna Muldoon works for the Australian Paralympic Committee and is currently in Rio for the Paralympic Games.
Classification manager: Anna Muldoon works for the Australian Paralympic Committee and is currently in Rio for the Paralympic Games.

While the focus during the Paralympic Games is predominantly on the athletes, the event itself wouldn’t be possible without the people who work behind the scenes.

Among them is former Manning local Anna Muldoon, who is the Australian Paralympic Committee’s (APC) classification manager.

Anna grew up in Tinonee, attending Tinonee Public School and Taree High School, and has worked for the APC since 2009.

She arrived in Rio last week, one week before the games began on Wednesday.

Most of the 178 Australian athletes had already been through the classification process and reached certain qualification criteria prior to leaving for Rio, although some were classified in the days leading up to and after the opening ceremony.

Anna Muldoon (second from left) is one of 158 Australian staff working at the Rio Paralympic Games.

Anna Muldoon (second from left) is one of 158 Australian staff working at the Rio Paralympic Games.

Nine Australian athletes were permitted to enter at the last minute when Russian athletes were banned from the games.

Anna said athlete classification is about making the competition fair, considering their varying abilities. Each sport also has its own classification.

“My area of classification is a four year process. After the games we will be preparing for Tokyo.

“In Australia we do classifications nationally so they can get into sporting competitions at a local, State and national level and then international competitions.”

While in Rio, Anna will work to classify athletes but will also work at and support events where needed.

When it comes to the athletes, she sees people who work extremely hard to get where they are, have overcome challenges and who do the best for their country and themselves. 

“For some that means winning a medal and others achieving a personal best. Each athlete has an amazing, incredible story behind them.”

Athletes competing in Rio who have a Manning connection are James Turner for athletics, Paige Leonhardt for swimming and Kathleen Murdoch for rowing. 

The view from the Australian allotment in the village.

The view from the Australian allotment in the village.

Another former Taree woman working at the Paralympics this year is Laura Thompson, who is on the technical jury for athletics. She currently works for the International Paralympic Committee athletics.