Paralympic Preparations Well on Track for Australia

03 Mar 2011 By IPC

Senior Executives from National Sporting Federations were provided with a detailed insight into Australia’s preparations for the London 2012 Paralympic Games when they converged in Sydney yesterday.

The comprehensive briefing was delivered by senior staff from the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and focussed on the key functional areas of Australia’s 2012 campaign.

In launching proceedings, APC Chief Executive Jason Hellwig stated that only a few gold medals could be the difference between Australia achieving a top five finish and falling outside the top 10 in London, and urged the National Federations to continue to do everything they could to ensure each Paralympic athlete will be ready to perform at their peak.

The APC is aiming to send an Australian Team of 320 athletes and staff to London 2012, and will also conduct a staging camp in Cardiff in the month leading into the Games for eight of the 13 Paralympic sports Australia is likely to contest.

Hellwig said engaging with Chief Executives and Senior Management from the National Federations was crucial in producing a Games preparation of the highest quality.

The London Paralympic Games will be staged from August 29 to September 9 next year.

“This is a very exciting time for the APC. Our preparations for the London Games are well on track but we know there are still a lot of things to accomplish in the next 18 months,” Mr Hellwig said.

“The forum was a valuable opportunity to update the Chief Executives and Senior Management of our National Federations on our Games preparations, share ideas, useful information, and listen to their feedback.

“APC staff work closely with staff from our National Federations at an operational level, but it is equally important that the Chief Executives and Senior Management are working together because we are all striving for the same outcome.

“The APC’s partnerships with our National Federation partners are absolutely critical to the delivery of the best possible Australian Paralympic Team.”

Larry Sengstock, Chief Executive of Basketball Australia, said the worthwhile briefing showed that preparations were well on track, while reinforcing the ongoing challenges Australia faces to remain one of the world’s best Paralympic nations.

Australia has a formidable record in Wheelchair Basketball in recent years. The men’s team, the Rollers, added the 2010 World Championship title to the Paralympic gold medal from Beijing 2008, while the women’s team, the Gliders, have medalled at every Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000.

“The London Paralympics will be a huge test for both the men’s and women’s Australian wheelchair basketball teams,” Sengstock said.

“Our men’s and women’s programs have been very successful but we can’t rest. We are working with the APC to continually improve at the elite level, while also focussing of nurturing junior and emerging talent.

“The challenge in London is a big one, but we are looking forward to working together to overcome it.”

The Australian Paralympic Team finished fifth on the medal tally at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and has set its sights on maintaining a top five position in London despite the strong emergence of several nations in recent years.