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Bio and Profile - Zachariah Clarkson Blind Ambition

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Zachariah Clarkson

About Zach

Zach is preparing for the biggest challenge of his life so far. He has been training in boxing and Mauy Thai with coach Amy Cameron.

Gold Coast boxing promoter Jamie Myer and boxing coach Michael Goodey have combined forces to introduce to Australia for the first time, a boxing match where both athletes are totally blind. Damien Williams and Zach have know each other for several years, both having raced tandems.

Past Achievements

Zach is a highly motivated and intelligent young man. His commitment to compete started when he entered his first Mathematics competition in 2004 and has competed in the WESTPAC Mathematics Competition 5 times and two Mathematical Olympiads. His interests in both chess and cycling have led to a chess coaching sponsorship from Gardiner Chess Centre and personal training from Bicycle Queensland's head coach for impaired sportsmen, Paul Martens.

  • 2005 - Chess was Zach's first sport, competing for the first time at the 2005 Gold Coast Open where he won a trophy.
  • 2010 - Completed the 96km trek through the Gold Coast Hinterland in under 35 hours and were recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Kokoda Award.
  • 2012 - Gold medals at the QLD State Para-cycling Road Title: Time Trial and QLD State Para-cycling Road Title: Road Race, Silver medal at the Australian National Title Time Trials. Bronze at the National Para-cycling Track Championships: 1km Time Trial.

Mentors include Graeme Gardiner, Doug Henderson and Peter Spencer.

Zach also has a Diploma in Business and is a qualified Remedial Massage Therapist.

Medical History

At the age of six, Zach's vision started to deteriorate due to an inherited disorder known as Juvenile Retinoschisis or X-Linked Retinoschisis. The disorder, which is primarily found in young males and effects one in 5,000 to 25,000 individuals, rendered Zach time almost completely blind by the time he was eight. Today, Zach is totally blind. He has no sight having suffered a number of additional complications, such as retinal detachment during his battle with this macular disease.

Juvenile retinoschisis (also known as X-linked retinoschisis) occurs almost exclusively in males. Although the condition begins at birth, symptoms do not typically become apparent until after the age of 10. About half of all patients diagnosed with X-Linked Retinoschisis first experience a decline in vision.

At this time, there is no treatment for X-Linked Retinoschisis. However, in some cases, surgery can repair retinal detachments. Ongoing scientific research is directed at identifying the gene that causes juvenile retinoschisis as the first step in developing means of treatment and prevention.

Read more from Retina Australia here.


Blind Ambition

Zachariah Clarkson Profile

Zachariah Clarkson was born in Sydney and moved to the Gold Coast where he lives today. At age 7, while Zach was losing his sight, his father taught his son how to play chess and built him a tactile chess board, enabling him to play with other children. He was at primary school, competing in the Chess Club Competition for several years before being selected to play in the inter-school chess tournament where his talents were noticed by both the media (Courier Mail - "King of the Mind Games") and Graeme Gardiner (Gardiner Chess Centre). Zach went on to eventually win the 2010 Gold Coast Junior Chess Master as the outright champion. (Read more - G. Gardiner.)

2010 was also the year Zach completed the 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge and was also the first bling person to do so, as part of his high school team (Read more - Adam De Cotta and Team Sacrifice), completing the grueling trek in under 35 hours. (Read more - Kokoda Challenge). Zach was presented with the "Spirit of Kokoda" Award by Doug Henderson and invited to participate in the Kokoda Kid's Journey to Papua New Guinea and walk part of the actual Kokoda Trail.

Zac Clarkson and Peter SpencerZach's cycling started with inspiration from Bryce Lindores, a Paralympic Bronze Medalist on the track in 2008. After meeting with Bryce, also a Gold Coast resident, Zach was lucky enough to start his training alongside a true champion. Zach's national level cycling career reach its peak in 2013 where together with pilot Peter Spencer, rode the 4kg Pursuit to Silver Medal time of 4:30 only being beaten by the current world record holders by 7 seconds.

The next few years were taken up with studying, working and weightlifting, where he met Amy Cameron and began combat training in late 2017, having never thrown a punch at anyone. Amy has worked tirelessly with Zach, honing his skills and sharpening his senses to become the fighter you will see at his first Boxing Match on Friday, 28th September 2018. Zach is truly a Modern Day Viking.

Read more: Blind Ambition

Subcategories

Fight Night Gallery

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Modern Day Viking

Modern Day Viking Clothing

Casual & Gym Clothing

 

Bike Coaching

Kokoda Challenge

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