Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Kate's Never Second Fiddle; Kate Doughty Was Born without Her Right Hand, but It Hasn't Stopped Her Conquering Two Sports, and Aiming for Rio in One, Writes Terry Mallinder

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Kate's Never Second Fiddle; Kate Doughty Was Born without Her Right Hand, but It Hasn't Stopped Her Conquering Two Sports, and Aiming for Rio in One, Writes Terry Mallinder

Article excerpt

KATE Doughty has never been one to let life's obstacles stand in her way, even one as significant as hers.

While others may have let being born without a right hand get the better of them, the fiercely determined Doughty has gone on to master two sports -- equestrian and triathlon -- not to mention the violin.

The inspirational 32-year-old is now on the verge of being chosen to represent Australia at the Paralympics in Rio in September in paratriathlon, incredibly just 18 months after taking up the sport.

However it would be a selection of no surprise to family and friends who began witnessing her amazing drive to succeed at whatever she put her mind to at age eight.

Growing up in the inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, she was in grade three when her school class was to learn to play the violin.

Her classmates anyway.

"The teacher said at the time I couldn't do it," Doughty recalled to Australian Regional Media.

"There was another girl who had Down syndrome ... the school's solution was to put her and myself in another room, and just play the recorder or something.

"My mum wasn't really happy with that."

And so Doughty was introduced to the myoelectric prosthetic hand, which, as she explained, would "open and close according to my wrist movements".

"I was able to hold the violin bow, and from there I just sort of figured out how to play, and actually really enjoyed it."

Not only that, she became so good at it she was invited to play at a major school concert at the World Congress Centre in Melbourne.

"I'm on stage, by myself, in front of over 1000 people ... it was pretty cool," she recalled.

Born in 1983, the fact her right hand was missing was never detected during her mother Vicki's pregnancy.

"I don't think my hand has ever been something that's made me think 'I can't do that'," she said, adding that if she did ever have negative thoughts, "I don't think it's ever been related to my hand. For me it's always been typical things growing up -- 'I wanna be taller', 'I wanna look like the models on TV'.

"I never really found anything too much of an issue. Mum said I was quite tough, I'd just get in there and give things a go.

"Swinging on the monkey bars was always the key thing I wanted to do, but I couldn't really tackle that one well -- that used to frustrate me.

"But, tying my shoes, doing my hair ... I could do it all."

Doughty also learnt to deal with bullies. "There were kids that used to say 'where's your hook?', and all this stuff," she said. "They always ended up in the principal's office ... they didn't say much after that."

Part of a horse-loving family, it was natural for her to learn to ride, but there was plenty of "trial and error" before she began winning national titles and representing her country. …

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