Home' Air Force News : April 26th 2012 Contents 27
April 26, 2012
SHAVING left-handed is the latest
challenge for FSGT Tony Benfer
as he recuperates from a shoulder
FSGT Benfer, a PTI at RAAF
Base Wagga, was injured in a hit
and run accident in 2007 in which
he lost his lower right leg, four fin-
gers on his right hand and later had
to have an artificial right elbow fit-
ted.Apart from triumphing over
adversity to resume his job, he
became a shining light as part of the
ADF Paralympic Sports program.
In the past few years he has tried
and excelled at a number of sports,
including swimming, rowing,
wheelchair basketball, shooting,
skiing, snowboarding and archery.
In February he competed in
the US Marine Corps' Paralympic
FSGT Benfer's latest challenge
Trials in California and won four
gold medals in the swimming pool.
In mid-March he went in for
shoulder surgery to realign the head
of the humerus back in the socket
and repair numerous capsule tears.
The injury can be traced back to
his accident in 2007 but it had been
exacerbated by all his training since.
He said last week he was on the
path to recovery.
"My right arm is still in a huge
sling, which has to stay on for six
weeks," he said.
"I had forgotten how frustrating
it is to do everything with just one
hand, left one at that.
"Shaving is the scariest when
you are right handed but I'm cop-
"I am looking forward to getting
the sling off and getting into my
FSGT Benfer has already set
his sights on the road cycling event
at next year's US Marine Corps'
Paralympic Trials -- and all the
training that will entail.
RECOVERING: FSGT Tony Benfer.
WHEN CPL Damien Enderby was involved in a fall
at the Australian mountainbike championships in
Adelaide in February, he hurt his back.
But whatever the damage it went undiagnosed and
he tried not to focus on the discomfort because he had
a big event a week later -- the final round in Newcastle
of the veteran male category of the national mountain-
CPL Enderby, of 76SQN, had done well in two of
the previous rounds. He missed the first one, over in
Perth, but finished second at Mt Buller and fourth in
Canberra and knew he was a good chance.
Each round consisted of three races. Friday was
either a Super D (long downhill with some climbing) or
a short time trial, Saturday was Olympic-format cross-
country (multiple laps of a 5-7km course) and Sunday
was a point-to-point format race around 25km.
The overall results for the weekend were based on
CPL Enderby started the final leg brilliantly, winning
the first two races of the weekend.
Although it was a civilian contest, his closest rival
was none other than PO Dion Blair.
"I was seven minutes ahead of him going into the
last race so my plan was just to stick with him," he
said.It worked, too - until right near the end when PO
Blair broke away, went on to win by 17 seconds and
sew up second place for the series.
CPL Enderby rated it his best mountainbike result.
Last year he finished third in the Australian marathon
mountainbike title in Queensland and in 2010 he won
the expert men's Olympic-distance cross-country in
"But this was more satisfying because it was
judged on a series of races. It was better overall."
Oh, and he did get his back injury diagnosed. Turns
out it was a compression fracture in the middle of his
It's better now after a few weeks of rest.
ahead to Spain
IF FLGOFF Rowan Beggs-French
found the 10km running leg hard
going at the Sydney triathlon this
month, you might wonder how he's
feeling about the prospect of compet-
ing in Spain on July 29.
He has been selected to represent
Australia in a long-course triathlon
in Vittoria: a 4km swim, 120km bike
ride and 30km run as opposed to the
1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km
run required in Sydney.
FLGOFF Beggs-French was one
of about 50 ADF personnel who
competed there against more than
2500 other competitors.
The Sydney race followed the
2000 Olympic course, taking in a
swim in the beautiful harbour, a bike
ride over the Sydney Harbour Bridge
and a run through the Sydney CBD.
Enjoying the sights of this par-
ticularly scenic course, FLGOFF
Beggs-French, of 285SQN at RAAF
Base Richmond, finished third in the
Australian Defence Sports Triathlon
Association (ADSTA) section.
SPR Chris Brenner was the
FLGOFF Beggs-French said he
was happy with his race time of 2hr
"It was great to come to such a
beautiful course and have a go at this
Olympic distance triathlon," he said.
his trophy at
"My time was a little bit slower
than what I was hoping for but I'm
happy with the placing."
FLGOFF Beggs-French said the
10km run was the most challenging
of the three events.
"I'm a pretty big fan of cycling
and swimming but running 10km off
the bike always hurts a bit."
FLGOFF Beggs-French's next
challenge will be the Defence nation-
al ironman distance championship
(3.8km swim, 180km cycle, 42km
run) in Cairns on June 3.
Then his focus will turn to
Spain for which he qualified at the
Australian long-course champion-
ships at Falls Creek in Victoria in
FLGOFF Beggs-French finished
third in the 20-24 age group at Falls
"I've been racing about six years
now so I'm pretty excited to be build-
ing up to new challenges," he said.
This will not be his first time in
an Australian uniform.
In 2009, he was part of the
Australian Olympic distance team
which competed on the Gold Coast
and in 2007, while he was still at
ADFA, he competed in a Defence
aquathon in South Korea.
The Air Force participants in Sydney
also included SQNLDR Colin Smith,
FLTLT Anita Green, SQNLDR Chris
Hatch, LAC Ales Rajch, SQNLDR
Terry Withers, FLTLT Danielle Jolly,
SQNLDR Paul Knellwolf, WOFF Adrian
Richardson and FLTLT Tim Smith.
ROAD TO VITTORIA: Running is not his favourite leg, but
FLGOFF Rowan Beggs-French still finished third at Falls
Creek where he qualified for a spot on the Australian team.
to hold off a
Navy rider to
clinch the title.
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