COBDEN para-athlete Drew Semmens is riding a wave of emotion following a stunning INAS Global Games campaign.
The 25 year-old ended his competition as a bronze medallist in the 800 metre final last Friday after narrowly missing the final in the 400 metres earlier in the week.
Semmens’ games ended on a slightly disappointing note when his 4 x 400 metre relay team was disqualified but the Cobden local said he was “super proud” of his achievements.
“It’s amazing to be brutally honest,” Semmens said.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’ve worked really hard the last couple of years for this to happen and for it to happen it’s amazing and it was even better to do it in front of family and friends.
“It’s still sinking in but I’m just super proud of myself.”
Semmens said it was “incredible” to walk away with a bronze medal in the 800 metre final after he said “I definitely didn’t expect to make the final let alone make the podium”.
He finished third in a time of one minute, 59.39 seconds behind Italy’s Ndiaga Dieng and Spain’s Deliber Rodriguez and beat home the highly fancied Japanese trio of Ryo Yonezwa, Yuki Uemura and Natsuki Kioso.
“I would have been happy to just make the final but on the day I thought a top five finish was pretty realistic because walking in I felt pretty good,” he said.
“During the run I was pretty good, there was a good pace set and I knew I had my chance at about the 250 metre mark with the Japanese boxed in, so I took off there but I had to hang on a bit (in the home straight).
“When I crossed the line I was pretty emotional and pretty happy and I shed a tear for the probably the first time.
“There was just a lot of relief and to get a bronze at games of this calibre is just unbelievable.”
Semmens’ pet event, the 400 metres, saw him achieve personal bests in his heat and semi-final runs.
He ran 52.21 seconds in the heat, before backing it up with a blistering time of 51.96 seconds in the semi-final to achieve one of his goals.
But his time was not enough to earn him a berth in the final, with Semmens missing out by just 0.02 seconds.
He said he was proud to set a new personal best but was disappointed he missed out on the final.
“I wasn’t too disappointed but it would have been nice to make the final,” Semmens said.
“I set myself a goal after nationals that I wanted to run a 52, and it was a really, really quick semi, the guy who won it went on and won gold I think.
“When I found out the news I had broke 52 I was pretty pumped, and it gave me a lot of momentum going into the rest of the week which was a good thing.”
Semmens returned to Victoria earlier this week and was bound for Cobden, where he said he would share his achievements with his home town.
He said his efforts at the games would not have been possible without all the support he has received from the community.
“I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone for their support, it’s probably been one of the most memorable weeks of my life and one I’ll never forget,” he said.
“So a big thanks to them and a big thanks to my family for all of their support and I look forward to getting back to Cobden later in the week and sharing this with them.”