Paralympic gold medalist Liam Malone paid tribute to his mother as he graduated from Victoria University yesterday.
The 23-year-old graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and International Business, a degree he studied towards while training for and competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In his graduate address he stressed the importance of family support and urged his classmates to hug their parents.
“I lost my mum to cancer at 18, and she cannot be here today.
“One of my biggest regrets is not giving my mum enough hugs, and if she was here today I would’ve loved to give her a hug just to say thank you for everything she has done for me,” he said.
Although he donned full regalia and marched through central Wellington with his classmates there will be no time for celebrations for the Paralympic champion.
“I’ve got to fly straight back to Auckland and speak at a conference tomorrow, I don’t go out, I’m an athlete so I might treat myself to a kebab or something but nothing exciting.
Juggling full-time study and a sporting career has not been easy for Malone who said he had to give up a lot.
“In economics there’s no free lunch, to have one thing you have to forgo another. I was trying to do two things that require a lot of time and energy so I didn’t get a chance to make a whole bunch of friends, or go clubbing or have that university experience.”
While his focus at the moment is on becoming the fastest man on the planet, he plans to use his degree down the track, and would be interested in working in a technology company.
– Story by NZ Herald/Georgia Nelson