Melbourne, 21 September 2012 |

Port Macquarie locals lined the town’s main street last Saturday to welcome home their Olympic and Paralympic heroes.

Wheelchair tennis player and Paralympic debutant Janel Manns was one of the athletes being honoured.

Other athletes included Ryley Batt, Paralympic gold medallist and captain of the Australian wheelchair rugby team, and Olympic swim star James Magnussen.

“I was shocked at the number of people who came to the parade, I was expecting 50 to 80 people only to find a crowd exceeding a thousand,” said Janel, the current world No.42.

“It is extraordinary for three elite athletes to come out of a small rural area to compete at the Olympics/Paralympics in the same year.

“Many local people have supported, assisted, and backed us in many ways, following our journeys to successful selection to represent our country in our chosen sports,” added Janel, who competed in both the singles and doubles competition at the London Paralympic Games.

To prepare for her first Paralympics, Janel trained under Philip Robinson at the Kendall Tennis Club (near Port Macquarie, NSW).

At the London Games she reached the round of 32 in the singles competition and with doubles partner Daniela Di Toro, a five-time Paralypian, they reached the round of 16.