With little over one week to go, athletes and spectators are preparing themselves for the 2009 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia.
Taking place from 9-17 May, the Arafura Games will see a total of 367 athletes with a disability from 30 different countries among the over 3,000 participants. The athletes will be competing in eight Paralympic sports, including Athletics, Swimming, Powerlifting, Cycling (Road), Football 7-a-Side, Shooting, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Tennis.
Held in partnership with the Oceania Paralympic Committee and the Australian Paralympic Committee, the Arafura Games will again incorporate athletes with a disability in the Oceania Paralympic Championships. The Oceania Paralympic Championships are open to eligible athletes with a disability from all countries around the world.
The Football 7-a-Side competition on schedule will feature teams from Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Korea. There are over 120 entries for Athletics and an impressive 15 countries competing in Table Tennis.
What makes the Arafura Games unique is the fact that events for athletes with and without a disability are integrated into the one competition, providing a diverse sporting environment and experience.
Additionally, the 2009 Arafura International Sports Conference will this year incorporate the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Women in Sport Summit from 9-11 May. The Conference is an initiative of the Arafura Games organizers - the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) - and is supported by the Australia National Paralympic Committee. Notable presenters at the Summit include Paralympians Louise Sauvage, Amy Winters, Jayme Paris as well as IPC Women in Sport Committee Chairperson Tine Rindum Teilmann. Also on hand will be the 2008 Australian Paralympic Coach of the Year, Iryna Dvoskina.
The Arafura Games is a leading international sporting competition for emerging champions of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Since 1991, Arafura Games has been held every two years in the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, Darwin.