IT was during a meeting with Australia's greatest paralympian that Ryley Batt was locked in as the next co-captain of the national paralympic team.
But he couldn't tell a soul for eight months.
"It was very hard to keep the excitement at bay... I almost buckled a few times," he said.
The 30-year-old was personally asked to take on the role by Kurt Fearnley - who retired from international duties soon after the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast - at a secret meeting in March.
"I thought I was just having a chat with him," Batt recalled.
"Next minute he started to go on about captaincy and what it meant to lead the team and then asked me if I wanted to be captain.
"It was a pretty awesome moment to have with someone like Kurt and to have him hand something like that down to me.
"I've respected him so much my whole life and I'm very humbled that he thinks of me the same way."
Fearnley was co-captain alongside Danni Di Toro at the 2016 Paralympics. Di Toro will again fill the role of co-captain alongside Batt at Tokyo.
"I didn't know if Kurt was joking or not so it was a shock at first and then a shiver went over my body with how honoured I was to be asked to co-captain such a huge team," Batt said.
"I'm very grateful that I was in the mix and my fellow peers and athletes thought so highly of me to put me in this position."
The Steelers captain said he didn't want to "complicate" the role and would simply request that team members represented their country in the best possible way.
Results ultimately wouldn't be the be-all and end-all.
"We want the whole Australian paralympic team to put in the best effort they possibly can," Batt said.
"We don't get this opportunity every year; it's every four years you get to represent your country and it's the pinnacle of our sport.
"If they don't get a medal, so be it, as long as they know they put in the best effort and tried to do their country proud. That's enough for us."
When asked if the co-captaincy would help him expedite his decision on retirement by providing the cherry on top, Batt remained non-committal.
"Getting asked to do these things is such an honour," he said.
"I think every Paralympic Games I say I'm going to retire after and here I am still playing ... I don't know why I'm putting so much hurt on the body.
"It's an honour that I've been able to represent my country in my life let alone captain my wheelchair rugby team and now the paralympic team."
He doesn't know what's going to happen in Tokyo.
"I'm hoping our Steelers wheelchair rugby team comes home with a third consecutive gold medal ... that would be pretty cool to retire on," Batt said.
"But knowing me, I'll probably try to kick on again. I don't know yet."
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