Paralympic Games
06 - 17 September

De Rozario's Battle With Galli Set to be Friday Highlight

Madison De Rozario will get the chance to challenge Jessica Galli 12 Jan 2011

Rising Australian wheelchair racing star Madison De Rozario will get the chance to challenge one of the best in the sport on Friday night at the IPC World Athletics Championship warm up meet at Sydney Olympic Park.

Coached by Louise Sauvage, De Rozario and her training partner Angela Ballard, will feature in the women’s wheelchair 200m race, where they will battle a strong field of Paralympians, including American wheelchair racing heavyweight Jessica Galli. Galli won a staggering five medals in Beijing including gold in the 400m and silver in the 200m.

The warm-up meet will be the athletes’ final chance to gain an edge over their international competitors before heading to the World Championships in Christchurch from 21-30 January.

Galli is part of a strong international contingent that has chosen Sydney as a base for their final preparations before heading to Christchurch. Teams from the world’s top Paralympic nations including USA, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland will feature alongside Australia’s best at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre on Friday, from 6pm-9pm.

Sauvage said De Rozario, who competed at the 2008 Paralympic Games as a 15-year-old prodigy, continues to evolve as a quality wheelchair racer. Her battle with Galli on Friday will be a highlight.

“Madison had a few problems in her preparations in the second half of last year but under the circumstances she’s looking good and medalling in Christchurch is a real possibility for her,” Sauvage said.

“She last competed in Switzerland mid last year but is definitely a World Championship medal chance in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

“Tough competition will come from Jessica Galli. She has been around for a while and has progressed really nicely in the T53 races. She blew everyone away in Beijing and I look forward to seeing her, Madison and Angie race on Friday and in Christchurch.”

Galli was paralysed in a car crash when she was seven years old and was introduced to Paralympic sport after spending four months in hospital. The three-time Paralympian and winner of six Paralympic medals arrived in Sydney earlier this week with the Amercian team, who have adopted Sydney Olympic Park as their training base.

“It’s wonderful here. I come from Central Illinois where it’s been snowing and cold, so the weather in general has been a really great improvement. This location (Sydney Olympic Park) is perfect for us. To be able to walk from our hotel to the track is ideal,” Galli said of her preparation.

“In Christchurch I hope to do well. Realistically I hope to medal in the 400m, the 800m and the 200m and see how I go in the 100m and 1500m. I also think our relay team will do well, so I’m excited about that,” said Galli.

Forty-four of the 48-strong Australian World Championship Team will compete on Friday, including dual world record holding sprinter Evan O’Hanlon and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world record holding shot putter Louise Ellery.

Competition at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre begins on Friday night at 6pm. Entry is Free.