Paralympians Shine at Arafura Games

15 May 2009 By IPC

After a week of competition, athletes continue to bring out the best of their abilities at the 2009 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia.

Paralympian Michael Gallagher from Australia has already stolen the spotlight after winning the gold medal in the Men’s Cycling Time Trial on 14 May. Gallagher covered 31.6 km with a time of 45:50min, faster than all other athletes, including able-bodied.

Gallagher is no stranger to a gold medal however, finishing first in the Men’s Individual Pursuit (LC1) at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He also took the bronze medal in the Men’s Individual Road Race (LC1-2/CP4) at the Games.

In Athletics, a World record was broken in the Women’s T42 200m event. Australia’s Kelly Cartwright and Michelle Errichiello finished their heats both before the previous 40.20sec record. Errichiello ran first, clocking at 37.79sec. Less than five minutes later, Cartwright finished at a time of 36.48sec in the following heat. The athletes share the same coach, Paralympian Tim Matthews.

In the Football 7-a-side competition, Japan took the loss in a 1:3 finish against Australia. The win for Australia however does not assure them a position in the finals. The team must win against Japan again on 16 May in order to meet the qualification. The opponent in the finals will be the winner of the competition between Great Britain and Korea on the same day. The finals will take place on 17 May.

New Zealand’s Grant Phillip took the second position in the Men’s Shooting Air Rifle competition on 13 May, about one point behind Australia’s Jason Maroney. In the Men’s Shooting Air Pistol competition, Australia took control of the results, with James Nomarhas in first position, while teammates Steve McCormack and Mark Gleeson followed in minor placings.

The Games, continuing through 17 May, have a total of 367 athletes with a disability from 30 different countries among the over 3,000 participants. The eight Paralympic sports include Athletics, Swimming, Powerlifting, Cycling (Road), Football 7-a-Side, Shooting, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Tennis.

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. Held in partnership with the Oceania Paralympic Committee and the Australian Paralympic Committee, the Arafura Games incorporate again 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.