Matthew Marles - 8 October 2013
Stephen Hennessy from the Brisbane suburb of Springfield Lakes has collected 14 gold medals at Australian Masters Games in indoor rowing and rugby union. But for the all the success he has had, there has also been a lot of heartache.
The 44-year old had a nasty accident whilst cycling early last year and the road to recovery was a long and tumultuous one.
“I had five months off work after the incident, with four weeks of limited mobility. Rehab three times a week, involving walking in a swimming pool and weights training. It was pretty painful.
“Just after it first happened, I was sitting on an exercise ball and I couldn’t even lift a half a kilogram weight.” Hennessy said.
Remarkably he was able to compete in rugby union at last years Pan Pacific Games on the Gold Coast, winning gold in the 45+ and silver in the 35+ age groups.
“The Pan Pacific’s were my real goal – to be able to compete in that was pretty special after my accident.”
Overall Hennessy has collected 20 medals in the eight Games in which he has competed. His total of 14 gold, five silver and one bronze is an outstanding total. But this time he is not participating in rugby union.
“Two weeks ago I strained my hip flexor in a rugby tournament so it’s rather tender. My boss won’t let me play rugby this time because I have to travel to the Andes in two weeks for work. He didn’t want me to hurt myself any more,” Hennessy explained.
But Hennessy managed to collect another gold in his first event at this years Games – the 500m indoor row.
“I’m pretty disappointed with the time to be honest. I could’ve done a lot better. I’m looking forward to the next two races where I prefer the longer distance.”
Indoor rowing involves competitors using power and endurance on gym rowing machines known as ergometers over 500m, 1000m and 2000m. Hennessy only took up the sport as a method to stay in shape for his main passion – rugby union.
“The Games is a great opportunity for catching up with all of my old mates. There’s some guys here that I’ve seen for the last five years. It’s a great experience.” Hennessy said.
The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit –
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