The Athlete

Adua on her bike
Adua on her bike during a night ride.
Image: Ross Millward
Source: ADEC

Adua was born in Melbourne almost completely blind as a result of rubella, but considers herself lucky not to have experienced worse effects.

Her parents had emigrated from Italy in the 1950s. She boarded at St Paul’s School for the Blind from four years of age until 14, which boosted her independence.

Joining the Coburg Athletics Club in the late 1970s opened up huge opportunities to meet many different people ‘in the real world’. Adua won many medals in interstate events before competing in the 1988 Blind Olympics in Seoul; she competed in discus and running, and broke the Australian long jump record. In recent years she has married, and she enjoys ballooning, rock climbing, hang gliding and abseiling.

Adua still cycles 45 minutes a week. She works as a volunteer, advocate and activities officer, while also caring for her mother. Her religious faith is essential to her self-confidence and achievements.

‘So many people are blind to ability. All they see is disability. Unfortunately my job opportunities have often been harmed by this arrogant attitude. Give people a chance. Let them be themselves. You won’t be disappointed.’