Hitting the right target
At one point the 25-year-old Bentleigh resident wasn’t sure he’d make it to June.
At the age of 20 an abnormal resting heart rate was detected, resulting from a defect in the circuitry of his heart.
He developed heart failure and since then has been in and out of hospitals, managing to cheat death.
Wanting to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, Williams tried a number of sports, attempting to reach the highest level and inspire other people with debilitating illnesses.
“As a teenager I was a pretty good lacrosse player but with my health it wasn’t a viable option,” he says. “So I tried hammer throw and I tried luge. But my medical team thought that probably wasn’t the best idea and thought I should find something a bit less stressful.”
Williams’ search led him to archery. He trains at the Moorabbin Archery Club and says although he was disappointed not to qualify “it could be a hell of a lot worse”.
“Yes, I’ve got a heart disease, but so do millions of people,” he says.
“Anything I can do to help others is really important to me, way more important than winning a gold medal.”
He’s true to his word. Williams is an ambassador for a number of different charities, including HeartKids Australia and of his own accord he visited a number of children’s hospitals in North America.
‘‘It wasn’t with a charity, I’ve always wanted to make a difference on a global scale like Lance Armstrong,’’ he says.
‘‘I took out a personal loan, organised everything myself, filled my suitcase with colouring books and spent every cent I had on sporting equipment for kids at the hospitals.’’
He encourages people to play sport as a way of dealing with illness.
“I try to promote sport as a way to prevent heart disease as much as I can,” he says. “If it wasn’t for sport I wouldn’t be here today. I think archery is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on and it’s perfect because there are kids out there who can’t play footy or soccer or cricket but everyone can do archery. You don’t need to run, which is fantastic.
“And the number of kids who have taken it up since I’ve spoken to them about it is amazing. It’s been very humbling. So I know I have to keep going.”
Williams’ positive attitude is infectious and he says it stems simply from wanting to get the best out of himself.
“I’ve had some pretty amazing role models in my life,” he says. “And you get to a point where you are exposed to your own mortality. You’ve only got one chance so you may as well make the most of it … you don’t want to be sitting on the couch at home wondering ‘what if’.”
Christian Williams is an archer at the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). He has also competed at the elite level in lacrosse, luge and hammer throw. Christian represents the Victorian Institute of Sport and visits schools all over the world to promote the importance of healthy eating, heart health and exercise. He is passionate about motivating students to reach their full potential and live their dreams. He has worked with professional sporting teams, primary schools, international organizations and everything in between. Christian is a qualified school teacher and has been teaching in schools around Melbourne since 2009. Christian is one of a number of presenters for VCE Help that are capable of helping students reach their potential in their VCE and beyond – secure your booking now to have him present at your school