Albury Commonwealth Games silver medallist Eliza Ault-Connell says it was “far and above” the greatest moment of her career.
The mother-of-three finished behind compatriot Madison de Roazario by only 12 seconds in the wheelchair marathon.
“This medal just has so much more meaning having my children and husband there, able to be a part of the journey over the last couple of years,” she said.
“I was coming down the chute a bit of a mess actually.
“No tears, but just smiling away, just everything that led up to that, I guess caught up with me and I just had that moment of, wow, we’ve actually done this as a team.”
The 36-year-old nearly died of meningococcal disease in 1997 and had both legs amputated above the knees just two days after diagnosis.
This medal just has so much more meaning having my children and husband there, able to be a part of the journey over the last couple of years.Eliza Ault-Connell
Ault-Connell contested her first major international meet at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, claiming silver in the 800-metre wheelchair.
Over the next five years, the Bowral product competed at the elite level, including the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and world championships.
Ault-Connell then had a long break, raising the children with husband Kieran.
“Only two and a half years ago I got that itch to come back and I thought ‘Comm Games, on the Gold Coast, what an opportunity’,” she said.
“I’ve had so much assistance over the last couple of years to get there, whether it be from people minding my children while I’ve gone to a competition in Canberra … or people dropping meals into my husband, things like that.
“I think that’s why I actually feel it’s been a team effort, it was for everyone.
“I would say it’s far and above the best moment of my very, very long career that had a long break in the middle.”
Ault-Connell was doing 140km a week in training.
“I do most of my training on rollers at home,” she said.
“It has made me mentally and physically so strong, there’s no way to hide on rollers and if you don’t push, they’re not going to roll.”
Ault-Connell is also director of Meningococcal Australia, but she will step down from her personal training for the year.
It’s no surprise either with events in Switzerland next month, followed by at least three marathons, including New York, with Tokyo in 2020 the long-term aim.