Michael Dobbie

Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Category: Sports Hall of Fame

Sport: Paralympian Wheelchair Tennis

When a 21 year old Tatura resident suffered horrific injuries in a motorbike accident, rendering him a paraplegic, Michael Dobbie could never have imagined that as a result of that accident he would eventually represent his Country in the Paralympic Games. Things looked grim for Michael’s future. He had grown up in Tatura, loved sport and had played cricket, tennis, football and basketball as a youth.

Michael found himself in Hospital in Melbourne, eventually taking part in a long rehabilitation program to teach him to live with his injury. During his rehabilitation Michael was taught to play wheelchair tennis and was coached by the coach of the Australian wheelchair tennis squad. This sparked Michael’s imagination and he set himself to improve his game and work hard to compete at a high level in the sport.

Following his rehabilitation, he commenced to practice and play wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball. He practiced tennis under the coaching of James Trevaskis & Jamie Haynes in the Goulburn Valley and also hit with Commonwealth Games Badminton star Michael Scandolera. He entered his first wheelchair tennis tournament in Bendigo where he won the development draw. This really got him excited about the sport and he commenced driving to Melbourne twice a week to train under the close eye of the Australian coach.

Michael also competed successfully in Wheelchair Basketball, making the Victorian team and the Goulburn Valley team. However time came when he had to make a decision which sport he would concentrate on and he chose tennis.

To improve his rankings Michael entered interstate tournaments playing in up to 15 per year and really dedicated himself to improve to be at top level. In 2005 he undertook an overseas trip to Europe where he gained International experience and found out how much he had to improve in the hope of playing at International level.

He lifted his intensity and saw the result when he was selected to represent Australia in the 2006 World teams’ cup – the equivalent of the Davis Cup. He became a regular member of the Australian team and competed for his country in the team event over the next 5 years in countries such as Turkey, Sweden, South Africa and Italy.

The highlight of Michael’s wheelchair tennis career came when he was chosen as an athlete in the Beijing Paralympic Games in both singles and doubles tennis. He was the only Australian player to progress beyond the first round and finished inside the top 30.

In 2009 Michael had a double Gold year when he won Gold in both the singles and doubles in the Arafura games in Darwin. That result helped him to be chosen as an International Tennis Federation ambassador to Vanuatu developing tennis and conducting coaching clinics.

Michael was ranked 2nd in both singles and doubles in Australia and 27th and 29th in World rankings. It has been a wonderful result for the Tatura resident who put aside the pain and the effort required to get the best out of himself following his accident. It is a credit to him that he has performed so well and has reached the heights in sport that he could not have imagined.

Following his tennis career Michael has ventured into the political arena and works as an advisor to a Federal Minister of the Crown. Michael Dobbie has shown what can be achieved even under tragic circumstances. Congratulations Michael Dobbie.