Our elite athletes are role models. We celebrate their victories and are inspired by their determination. In this series, I want to share some of the most inspirational athletes I know. My background in sport science and sports chaplaincy has brought me into contact with some amazing people. They are unique people not just because of their athletic achievements but also because of their achievements outside of sport.
Eloise Wellings is a standout in the Australian distance running community. She has risen through the junior ranks to be one of the greats. For over 15 years she has dominated distance running in Australia. From the road to the track her times and performances have cemented her as one of our nation's best runners.
Her performances at the 2016 Rio Olympics show that she is still improving. She wiped nearly 40 seconds off her personal best for the 10,000m (31min 14sec) and finished 10th place in a race that saw a world record.
However, true inspiration does not only come from sporting performances. Wellings true inspiration comes from her development of the Love Mercy Foundation. Eloise Wellings partnered with friend and Ugandan athlete, Julius Achon to start a charity that supports health and community projects in Uganda. Achon lived in a war torn area of Uganda and was abducted by a paramilitary group as an 11-year-old boy. He managed to escape and ran over 300km to reach his home village. From that troubled background, Achon focused his running abilities to go on to represent his nation at two Olympic Games.
As he shared his story with Wellings the two developed the Love Mercy Foundation. "We exist to transform communities in Uganda by using simple solutions to poverty and by empowering women and girls to access education, health care, and income generation."
True inspiration comes from outstanding performances on and off the track. And Wellings is the real deal. She is a woman with the determination to give something back: to live out her faith and show mercy to those in need. Visit www.lovemercyfoundation.org/home
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
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