Marie Kay can still remember the day James Turner turned up to Athletics Wollongong training.
A member of the Pararoos, the athlete's Paralympics dream had been dashed when the football side failed to qualify for the Rio Games.
So Turner turned his focus to a new sport to keep that dream alive. Athletics.
The natural talent was present, but the quality that immediately stood out was Turner's drive and determination to achieve his goals.
"He was a beautiful kid," Kay said. "He came to the track and said he was interested in running. After he missed out with soccer, he wanted to do track.
"I had a couple of good junior runners and he slotted in with those kids and did well. "I asked him what his goals were and what he wanted to achieve and we discussed what he needed to do to reach those goals.
"Once he started running, you could see he was determined. Determination and will will get you anywhere, he was prepared to do the hard work."
Turner's hunger has seen him become one of the best Paralympic athletes in the world.
Along with a gold medal won in the 800 metres in Rio, the 25-year-old has five World Championship titles to his name.
Turner is looking to add to his tally in Tokyo, competing in the 100m and 400m events in the T36 classification for athletes with cerebral palsy.
The runner's campaign starts with the 400m heats on Saturday, with the 100m heats next Friday.
Despite setting the foundation for Turner's success, it didn't take long for Kay to realise he needed to work with an experienced para-athletics coach in order to reach his potential.
That saw the former UOW student move to the Australian Institute of Sport to join Iryna Dvoskina's high-performance squad.
Since then, Turner has improved considerably and Kay is proud every time he takes to the track.
"He needed someone who had more expertise and could give him more time," Kay said. "He made the right decision to move to the AIS and get all that help, he's gone in leaps and bounds.
"He's a humble kid, I've been following him on Instagram and seeing how he's progressing. I'm looking forward to watching him in the Paralympics."
While Turner won gold in the 800m in Rio, he was presented with a new challenge after the event was removed from the schedule for the Tokyo Games.
That saw him turn his focus to the 100m and 400m in search of further glory.
Turner enjoyed immediate success, winning gold in both events at the 2019 World Championships.
Kay was always confident he'd thrive in the 400m, but the 100m took her by surprise. Now, she's eager to see her former athlete claim two more Paralympic titles.
"The 400 I thought he could do well, but the 100 was definitely a surprise for me. He was the type of kid that whatever you put in front of him, he wanted to win and would work hard to make it happen.
"It was something he was able to achieve if he worked to it and he's shown that.
"I just want to see him achieve what he wants to achieve. I've always said to him, go out and run your own race, the rest will come.
"Don't think about times, run the perfect race and times will come with it."
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