Wheelchair Rugby flying its colours in South Africa
(Johannesburg) For the first time since 2009, a South African wheelchair rugby team is gearing up for the all-important IWRF 2013 Asia-Oceania Championship taking place next week, 20-23 November, at Rembrandt Hall, LC de Villiers stadium, University of Pretoria.
Team spirits are high amongst the national team currently in a training camp prior to next week’s tough competition. World ranked national teams the Australian Steelers (2) who also took Gold at the 2012 London Paralympics, Japan (5) and New Zealand’s Wheelblacks (10) arrive in South Africa this weekend.
This will be the first international wheelchair rugby tournament that South Africa will compete in since 2009, and the stakes are high as the tournament is a qualifier for next year’s World Championships in Denmark.
Recently Wheelblacks coach, Peter Martin, stated that getting to the final of the Asia-Oceania is his team’s focus, with plans of snatching Japan’s fifth ranking, whilst paving the way forward to securing a medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Highest ranked team competing at the Asia-Oceania tournament is Australia, fresh off a loss to the United States in a recent Tri-Nations event, will no doubt be looking to take gold at next week’s event.
At the beginning of Disability Month (November), the founder of wheelchair rugby was awarded the Paralympic Order. In 1976, Canadian born Duncan Campbell and a small group of friends developed the basic rules, regulations and chair design that helped form the basis of this high impact, hugely popular Paralympic team sport. Previously a member of Canada's national team, Duncan remains active in the sport today as a player, recruiter, motivator, teacher and tactician in British Colombia. Duncan also serves as a member of the IWRF Board of Directors, which is the global governing body for the sport.
IWRF President John Bishop stated; “On behalf of the thousands of people whose lives have forever been improved as a result of participating in Wheelchair Rugby, we congratulate Duncan on this momentous achievement, and send our heartfelt thanks to him for sharing his amazing sport with the Global Wheelchair Rugby Family”.
The official opening of the IWRF 2013 Asia-Oceania Championship takes place on Wednesday next week at 09h00, and thereafter South Africa takes on Australia.
SA WCR has announced free entrance for all local spectators to come and support every match. The full program of events and team information is available on the South African team’s Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/iwrf.sawcr.co.za or follow team news on twitter @SAWCR
Editors For all media interviews, articles and onsite media coverage pre and at the tournament, please contact Alison Spratley, or mobile +27 (0) 82 467 1213.