NSWIS Para-canoeist, Dylan Littlehales, represented Australia at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and will hit the water again at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Hailing from the NSW Central Coast, Dylan was introduced to para canoe at 14 by his uncle who was a head coach for the Australian canoe slalom team. The timing was perfect; Para canoe was making its debut at the next Paralympics in Rio and the Avoca Kayak club had just started up – and so Dylan’s journey began.
At 15, Dylan made his debut for Australia in the KL3 event at the 2015 ICF World Championships in Italy, placing a commendable 17th. He was the youngest competitor by three years. Returning to the World Championships the following year, Dylan powered home to place second in the B Final by just 0.001 of a second – qualifying Australia a berth at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Selected to the Rio 2016 Team, Dylan was 16 when he made his Paralympic debut – the youngest in the para-canoe squad by five years. He reached the semi-final in Rio where he placed 6th and took more than a second off the time he clocked in his heat.
Since then, Dylan has gone on to compete at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships, reaching the final both times. He claimed his first international medal by winning bronze at the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint and Para-canoe World Cup in Hungary.
At the 2019 ICF World Championships, Dylan finished 4th, missing out on the medals by just 0.09 of a second. But a fourth-place finish was enough for Dylan to secure Australia a quota spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.