Disability Sports Australia (DSA) has announced a historic partnership on Thursday (23 March) to mark 500 days until the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in Sydney, Australia.
The announcement also comes with the appointment of the Championship Patron at Government House, Sydney.
“The GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship will be the largest disability sporting event to be held in Australia since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and DSA, the national body representing athletes with a physical disability, is proud to announce the official Championship naming rights sponsor GIO, and Patron His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC [Ret’d] Governor of New South Wales,” said DSA Chief Executive Officer Jenni Cole.
“This partnership is of international significance. It is the first time in the history of the Championship that a naming rights sponsor has been secured. We commend GIO for their foresight and commitment to changing lives through sport.
Head of Accident & Trauma, Personal Injury Portfolio and Products, Insurance Australia, Matthew Kayrooz said: “GIO has a long and proud history with disability sport in Australia. Sport is an important part in the wellbeing of all of our lives, and for people with a disability it is no different. We are very proud of our ongoing partnership with DSA, and fully support their vision to enrich the lives of people with a disability through participation in sport. As naming rights sponsor of the GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship we are committed to showcasing the world’s most elite wheelchair rugby competition to the Australian public.”
Next year will be 18 years since wheelchair rugby debuted, as a full medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Cole said partnerships with the Australian Rugby Union and the long time support of the Department of Defence had assisted in DSA’s successful bid to bring the GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship to Sydney. The announcement on Thursday of Governor Hurley’s patronage further exemplified the significance of the event.
Hurley said: “I am honoured to be appointed Patron of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation’s Wheelchair Rugby World Championship. Seeing the joy that this very physical sport offers to our veterans whose injuries through service to their nation resulted in them requiring the use of a wheelchair is inspiring. As Patron, I am looking forward to fast and furious games of strength, skill and speed, as the 11 international teams battle it out against our champion Australian Steelers. I welcome the world to play in our city of Sydney, whose Paralympics brought wheelchair rugby to the world.”