Two-time Paralympic gold medallist, Lakeisha Patterson, has had her campaign for Tokyo boosted after receiving a University of Queensland Sporting Scholarship.
The 22-year-old was one of 51 recipients to receive honours which included Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls as well as representatives from Australian and Queensland sporting teams.
She was awarded the Sports Achievement and Clem Jones Sporting Scholarships for her exceptional ability in swimming.
Patterson is no stranger to the University of Queensland’s sporting program after she was named the institution’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2019.
As time continues to tick down to the Australian Swimming Trials – which takes place in June for selection on the Australian Paralympic Team – she said the scholarships will help her focus on her preparations for Tokyo this year. If successful in Adelaide, she will be aiming to secure her second individual gold medal, this time in the Women’s 400m Freestyle (S9).
“University of Queensland Sport has been incredible and the Sporting Scholarships have provided so much financial assistance to enable me to attend university every day, and ensure I’m able to put in the hard work diving off the blocks as well as in the books,” Patterson said.
“They’re great with understanding my commitments and making sure that I have time to complete my assignments when I’m competing, and vice-versa.
“The dream is definitely to get to Tokyo and take gold in the 400m Freestyle.
“I think when the Games go ahead it will be a massive show of resilience and determination – every athlete has overcome so much to get to this stage and it will be incredibly exciting.”
The Belgravia swimmer enters her sixth year as a Dolphin, having represented Australia on the world stage at numerous events.
She left an outstanding impression in her debut Paralympic Games at Rio claiming a gold medal and setting a new world record on her first day of competition in the 400m Freestyle (S8), before backing up her performance with another five medals.
She most recently won gold in the Women’s 400m Freestyle (S9) event at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London after securing two gold medals on home soil in the previous year at the Commonwealth Games in the Women’s 50m Freestyle (S8) and 100m Freestyle (S9) races.
The Tokyo Paralympics take place from 24 August until 5 September.