Australia will be host to amazing feats of athleticism as the 2018 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship gets underway in Sydney today.
Minister for Sport, Senator Bridget McKenzie, welcomed the hundreds of athletes and their supporters from around the world who have arrived for the six day event, where the world number one ranked Australian team – the Steelers – will defend their 2014 world championship on home soil.
“The world’s top 12 teams have travelled to Sydney for the event and I know we have an outstanding competition ahead of us,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The Australian Government is partnering with Disability Sport Australia to deliver a world class event to the Australian community, which will showcase a pathway for all people living with a disability to participate in sport.”
Mr Steve Loader, chair of the championship organising committee and deputy chair of Disability Sports Australia, said it was the largest, single elite sporting event for people with a disability to be held in Sydney since the 2000 Paralympic Games.
“Disability Sports Australia is proud to host the event, and Australian Government funding of $200,000 has been vital to present a world class competition and celebrate the incredible feats of elite athletes with a disability,” Mr Loader said.
Minister McKenzie said wheelchair rugby was just one sport that can change lives for people with a disability.
“This event gives us a unique opportunity to highlight how inclusive sports can benefit the one in five Australians with a physical disability.”
Wheelchair rugby is the only team sport for quadriplegic athletes and one of the few where male and female athletes complete on the same team.
The championship will be held from 5–10 August at Sydney Olympic Park.