All it took was one conversation to spark a desire for change in Sam Harding's career.
An old training partner shifted the Canberran's 12-year focus in the Australian green and gold from middle distance running to triathlons.
Harding has been selected as part of an all-star team that will compete in the debut of the para-triathlon vision impaired (PTVI) event at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
It has been a crazy year for the triathlete, who recently transitioned from track and field to triathlons after a conversation with an old training partner convinced him that he was made for the sport.
"One of my old coach's students, Avish Sharma, was a training partner of mine for a few year and he ended up getting his PhD and started working in triathlon," Harding said.
"We caught up at a pre-departure camp for Tokyo and he [Sharma] was like, 'Look I know you can swim and you can run and you've had experience on the bike, triathlon really could be your thing'."
A two-time Paralympian in the 800m and 1500m races, Harding had found success in his chosen sport. It seemed outlandish that after more than a decade training as a middle-distance runner, the 32-year old might be a better triathlete.
The conversation with Sharma got him thinking though and after Tokyo, the Canberran decided it was time for a change.
"A few things went into making the decision [after] 12 years doing athletics," he said.
"I thought it could be a good opportunity to rest the body from running for a little bit but still stay super fit."
The change has paid off. This year he has collected gold medals at the Oceania Triathlon Para Cup, Oceania Triathlon Para Championships and the Australian Paratriathlon and Intellectual Impairment Championships. Some haul in his first year of competing.
The Paralympian names his two coaches, Philo Saunders and Yuriy Vdovychenko, as world class and a massive reason for his meteoric rise.
"I've got great coaches looking after me."
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