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James Turner (athlete)

James Michael Turner OAM (born 22 May 1996) is an Australian Paralympic athlete and soccer player with cerebral palsy. He has represented Australia as part of the Australia Paralympic soccer team, the ParaRoos, and was its player of the year in 2013. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics, he won the Men's 800 m T36 in a world record time of 2:02.39.[1] At the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London, England, he won three gold medals including the 200 m T36 in a world record.

James Turner
180516 - James Turner portrait snapshot - 3b.jpg
James Turner
Personal information
Nationality Australia
Born (1996-05-22) 22 May 1996 (age 22)
Sydney, New South Wales
Disability classT36
Coached byBrett Robinson



James Turner was born on 22 May 1996. He has cerebral palsy. He grew up in Diamond Beach, New South Wales.[2] In 2015, he commenced a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wollongong.[3]


Turner played 7-a-side soccer as a midfielder for New South Wales starting in 2009, and for the Australian national 7-a-side team, the ParaRoos, in 2012.[3] By November 2013, he had 16 caps, and was named Pararoo Football Player of the Year at the 2013 FFA Australian Football Awards night on 13 November 2013. The head coach of the ParaRoos, Paul Brown, said that "James has pace to burn and he gets forward on the overlap to worry defenders in their third. He has the potential to be one of the best players that Australia has ever produced if he stays on the path that he is at present".[4] Unfortunately for the ParaRoos, ranked tenth in the world, in July 2014, the Australian Sports Commission cut funding for the 7-a-side soccer program on the grounds that the team was unlikely to make the 2016 Summer Paralympics.[5] After a public outcry, the team was revived with a new funding model in 2015.[6] Despite the fund raising efforts, the ParaRoos failed to qualify for Rio.[7]


Turner started with Forster-Tuncurry Athletics club as an eight-year-old and at the age of 15 joined the Hunter Academy of Sport AWD middle distance running program.[2] In 2015, Turner turned his talents to back athletics on the encouragement of Athletics Australia,[2] where he is classified as a T36 athlete. He was coached first by Marie Kay and from 2016 by Brett Robinson in Wollongong, New South Wales.[3] At the Australian Athletics Championships in March 2016, he ran the 800m in 2:08.90, which was a Paralympic qualifier.[8] In the IPC Grand Prix in Canberra February, he had posted an even faster time of 2.08.8.[3][9] In August 2016, it was announced that had been selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in the 800m event.[10] He was ranked number two in the world in this event in his classification.[11]

At the 2016 Summer Paralympics, he won the Men's 800 m T36 in a world record time of 2:02.39.[1] In December 2016, he was named Australian Paralympic Rookie of the Year.[12]

At the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London, England, Turner won three gold medals - Men's 200 m T36 (world record time 24.09 (-0.4)),Men's 400 m T36 and Men's 800 m T46.[13][14][15]

His Rio Paralympics gold medal event the 800m is not on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as a result he has changed to short distances - 200 m and 400 m.[16]



  1. ^ a b "James Turner". Rio Paralympics Official site. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Athletics provides Rio lifeline for Para footballer". Athletics NSW website. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "James Turner". Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Turner wins Pararoo Football Player of the Year". Football New South Wales. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  5. ^ Damjanovic, Dijana (15 July 2014). "Rio 2016 Paralympics: Australia's Pararoos offside without government funding". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Pararoos are go". Football Australia. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Pararoos battle heroically but miss out on Rio". 3 July 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  8. ^ "#AAC16". Athletics Australia. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Isis Holt smashes 200m world record at Canberra Grand Prix". International Paralympic Committee. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Australian Paralympic Athletics Team announced". Australian Paralympic Committee News, 2 August 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  11. ^ McDonald, Mick (10 August 2016). "Turner targets gold in Rio". Great Lakes Advocate. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  12. ^ Walsh, Scott (8 December 2016). "Dylan Alcott wins double at Australian Paralympic Awards". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  13. ^ Ryner, Sascha. "Reardon and Turner crowned kings of the track". Athletics Australia News, 18 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  14. ^ Ryner, Sascha. "Photo decider sees O'Hanlon reclaim glory". Athletics Australia News. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  15. ^ Ryner, Sascha. "Three from three for Turner as Team Australia finish with 28 medals". Athletics Australia News, 24 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  16. ^ "James Turner". Athletics Australia website. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Congrats James! Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder @Jimmy_T36 has been announced as Male Para-Athlete of Year 2016". Athletics Australia Twitter.
  18. ^ "OAM Final Media Notes (S-Z)" (PDF). Governor General of Australia. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Our best athletes honoured at Athletics Australia Gala Dinner". Athletics Australia website. Retrieved 18 February 2018.

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