Throughout his esteemed career, Dylan has won 3 Paralympic gold medals in two sports, was awarded 2016 GQ Sportsman of the Year, 2016 Paralympian of the Year and the 2016 Newcombe Medal. He is honoured to have received a medal of the Order of Australia in 2009 at the age of 18.
In 2017, Dylan co-founded disability and accessibility training start-up Get Skilled Access and began hosting on national radio station Triple J. He is a tireless advocate for disability and is a highly sought-after motivational speaker, travelling Australia and the world inspiring organisations to be the best versions of themselves.
Dylan is also a keen philanthropist, and in 2014 set the world record for the longest continuous playing of wheelchair tennis, playing for 24 hours non-stop, raising funds for two charities, Variety the Children’s Charity and The Starlight Foundation.
Joseph Deng was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after his mother left South Sudan to escape war. At age six his family moved to Australia, settling in Toowoomba and ran his first race aged nine. Aged 12, he moved to Ipswich in 2010 and attended Raceview State School. A school mate encouraged him to attend after-school athletics coaching at Ipswich Grammar. There he meet his first coach Di Sheppard who nurtured his talent. Also, key in his development was uncle John Deng, who he lived with at Redbank. Over the next five years he developed under Di’s coaching and support from the school in the form of a scholarship. By his late teens he was already running quick times. He was selected in the Australian team for the 2016 World Juniors and on tour, while still 17, he clocked 1:47.90 for 800m. He just missed making the final at the World Junior Championships placing third in his semi. He closed his junior years with a PB of 1:46.51.
He started strongly in 2018 with two 1:47 runs. At the National Championships/CG trials he faced the challenging 800m progression to the final of only the five heat winners and fastest three non-winners. He was drawn in Luke Mathews’ heat - the favourite for the event. He ran a good time of 1:47.52 and placed second, but was unfortunately the fourth fastest non-winner, meaning he missed qualification for the final. He did however qualify for the B final. He ran from the front to win by nearly two seconds in a significant PB of 1:45.71. It was also a CG A qualifier and faster than Mathews won the A race. A week later, the selectors named the teenager as the third athlete in the 800m for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. At the Games he progressed from the heat into the final placing seventh while still in his teens.
In June he travelled to Europe and embarked on a five meets campaign. All five times were faster then his previous PB and four were sub-1:45, become the Australian with the most sub-1:45 in Australian history. The goal remained the Australian record of 1:44.40, nearly 50 years old, but he also had his training partner, Peter Bol also after the mark. At the Stockholm Diamond League he came closest clocking 1:44.61. With one race remaining, the Monaco Diamond League, Joseph ran the perfect race, to place seventh and eclipse the national record with a time of 1:44.21.