Posts filed under ‘Wheelchair sports’

One Says No, While The Other Waits.

So often in sport one person will say one thing, while another will say the complete opposite. It appears that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are sending out different messages.

The IPC has said that Oscar Pistorius will be banned from participating at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 even if he does not have to serve his full five year jail sentence for the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The IOC however are refusing to comment on the possibility of him taking part at the able-bodied games. To complicate matters further the organisers of the Rio 2016 Games have said he “will be welcome in Brazil like anyone else.”

Pistorius was the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and his participation after a long battle, garnered a great deal of publicity. He was not the only athlete with a disability who competed in London, although the others did not share the limelight despite some outstanding performances. For example South Korean archer Im Dong Hyun, who has 10 percent vision in his left eye and 20 percent his right, set the first world record of the 2012 Games, and his team walked away with a bronze medal. Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka, who was born without a right hand or forearm, also took part in the London Games which were her second consecutive Olympic Games.

In fact it is believed that at least 11 disabled athletes had participated in the Games prior to Pistorius.

One of the most remarkable of these would have to American gymnast George Eyser, who won three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze at the St. Louis Games in 1904. Apart from the fact that he won all of these medals in one day what made his achievements particularly impressive was that his left leg was made of wood. His leg had been amputated after he was run over by a train, although some sources say he was attacked by a wild animal that bit his leg and infected it leading to amputation.

Another South African to compete before Pistorius was the swimmer Natalie du Toit,  who lost her left leg in a traffic accident, and who participated in the 10 km swimming marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and finished 16th.

We have to wait and see if the IOC follow the IPC. That is of course if Pistorius is released early and achieves the qualifying times.

 

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November 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Time to Kick In For Funding

When you are in charge of handing out money your are always going to be popular with those who receive and far from popular with those who miss out. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC)is no doubt well aware of the situation, and have upset many with their latest funding announcements.

The biggest losers were Tennis and Surf Lifesaving who both lost over $400,000 of funding. Cricket lost 200k, AFL 194k, Athletics 50k Football350k Pentathlon 25k (this was for one athlete) and Squash 320k. Many have asked why mainstream sports such as Cricket, AFL, Football and Rugby Union are still receiving money when they have multi-million dollar television deals and it would be hard to argue with that thinking. These monies though tend to be spent on development and youth international teams, as the ASC confirms in its Investment allocation 2014–15 document:

“Consistent with the high performance investment principle which takes account of a national sporting organisation’s own revenue, the ASC has decided to cease to invest in the high performance programs for sports with significant broadcast and other commercial revenue. These sports are iconic for Australians and highly successful, setting an example for other sports. The ASC will continue to invest in these sports for participation in 2014–15. The AIS has worked closely with these sports and will continue to seek alternative partnerships and collaboration that are mutually beneficial. The AIS will continue to invest in the successful women’s cricket team.”

Squash’s funding has been withdrawn for the following reason: “The high performance investment allocation for squash will reduce by $320,000 (–35 per cent) for 2014–15. Squash has been assessed as having limited ability to contribute to Winning Edge targets. The ASC will provide transition funding of $100,000 for 2014–15 to assist the sport to restructure its programs and operations.”

When it comes to Paralympic sports Powerlifting and football are the two sports to suffer a funding withdrawal.

The reason Powerlifting has seen its funding withdrawn which will be a major blow to rapidly improving lifters from WA Ben Wright and Nang Nguyen, was as follows: “The high performance investment allocation for powerlifting will be withdrawn for 2014–15 ($55,000 in 2013–14). The ASC has determined that the sport is unlikely to contribute to Australia’s 2016 Paralympic Games medal target. There are currently few international-standard athletes in the system and the high performance pathway is not sufficient to increase the depth of athletes.” Both of these lifters have been steadily improving and breaking their own personal records, they now have to overcome this lack of belief in their abilities, hopefully it is the spur to prove the ASC wrong.

In able-bodied football the ASC explains: “The high performance investment allocation for football will be reduced by $350,000 (-15 per cent) for 2014-15. The ASC investment in men’s football is for the pathway teams, in particular the Joeys (under 17) and the Olyroos (under 23). The ASC considers that based on current performance, these teams have limited potential to contribute to Winning Edge targets in the foreseeable future. The ASC acknowledges the significant achievement of the Soccerroos in qualifying for its third straight World Cup given the international competitiveness of football as a sport.” This confirms a belief held by many that the development programs under the FFA have fallen well short of those they inherited.

The ASC continues by saying, “The high performance investment allocation for Paralympic football will be withdrawn for 2014-15 ($175,000 in 2013-14) as the performance profile of the sport suggests it is unlikely to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The ASC continues to invest in the women’s high performance football program and will continue to invest in participation for 2014–15.”

This was a body blow to the Para-roos as it basically implied that the team would not be good enough to make it to Rio in 2016.

Australia is currently the only team in Paralympic football in Oceania,  and are ranked 10th in the World. To qualify for the Olympics teams must finish in the last eight at the 16 team World Cup. Being ranked 10th in the World one would have thought that the Para-roos would be worth the investment as if they can break into the top eight, something many believe is achievable, they would book their place to Rio.

The withdrawal of funding now means that leading up to the World Cup they will be short of meaningful match practise and will be unable to attend tournaments featuring other international teams, so that they can gauge their level and the work needed to be done. This will also effect their world ranking and could affect their seeding at competition and result in a much harder pathway to qualification. So the withdrawal of the funding could be a self fulfilling prophecy. This is very sad for a program that was making great headway.

Not the Footy Show believes that the good news is the Football Federation of Australia(FFA) are contesting this withdrawal of funding, and hopefully they are successful. If they are not it will be interesting to see what they do to help this program. With each Socceroo in the World Cup squad believed to have earned $20k per game it would be great to see an international played where the able bodied players each donated half of their match fee to their Paralympic counterparts as that would actually result in more than the funding they have lost!

Let us hope that somehow money is found to help the Para-roos and the powerlifters, even if it is no longer coming from the government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2014 at 8:38 am Leave a comment

Support To Be Proud Of

The recent Football Federation of Australia National Youth Championships held in Coffs Harbour were not only hugely successful for WA teams on the pitch as the under-13 team, coached by Brad Hassell, won the national title and the under-14 team, won their group going unbeaten. They scored 23 goals and did not concede a goal in five matches. Northern New South Wales was the team’s only defeat them in their sixth match.

While they may well have impressed on the pitch they lead Australia off of it.

While their competition was being played on the main pitch, the National Paralympic Football Championships were taking place on an adjacent pitch. Paralympic football is played by people with cerebral palsy, stroke injury and certain acquired brain injuries, and is seven a side.

The Western Australian under 13 and under 14 teams were the only teams to go and support their Western Australian counterparts in this competition, something that was greatly appreciated by the players and noted by other states. This is a credit to every single player, the coaching staff and the management.

In addition to this new Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer was there, watching his son participate. So impressed was he with the Western Australian Paralympic team’s performance and the individuals concerned that he promised the players free tickets to the club’s last home game against Sydney FC at NIB Stadium. It proved to be no hollow promise and once back in Perth the players received their tickets and attended the game.

There have been many, this site included, who have questioned whether football really is a ‘family,’ and whether that is not just a word used to market the game, but actions such as these show that there is a family- feel and it is great to see Western Australians all pulling together and supporting each other, and showing the other states that unity.

To all involved in supporting each other, and Jason Brewer for following up on his promise congratulations.

November 11, 2013 at 9:26 am 2 comments

Paralympics Continue to Inspire

The legacy of the London Olympic Games was supposed to be more young people becoming involved in sport, and Britain becoming a healthy place for children to grow up. Sadly the honeymoon is over and reports state that there has been a marked drop off in sports participation. This should be no surprise as most sports suffer the same hangover, football and rugby being two that once a year has passed after their World Cups numbers drop.

However when it comes to the Paralympics it is a different story. In fact it is completely the opposite, as sport for youngsters with a disability is very much on the rise in the UK.

Panathon is one of the reasons for this. This is a program to give youngsters with a disability the opportunity to try competitive sports that they would never get the chance to do at school. It has helped make sport accessible to these children and with Paralympian heroes such as swimmer Liz Johnson as ambassadors the program has gathered huge momentum.

Australia is lucky that such programs already exist through organisations such as Wheelchair Sports WA. Western Australia sent 17 Paralympians to London as well as three coaches. These representatives returned with 12 medals, 2 Gold, 9 Silver and 1 Bronze medals from the London Games. The medals coming in Athletics, Handcycling, Swimming, and Wheelchair Basketball.

Wheelchair Sports WA has some great junior programs in place and children do not have to follow the elite pathway if they do not want to, it is all about participation, inclusion and having fun. The key is making the public aware of the great work being done and the inspirational athletes under our noses.

 

June 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

She Really is Called Smith

Many amateur clubs have filled in a team sheet with registered player’s name when a non-registered player takes to the court or the field. If the ‘ring-in’ is too good that soon becomes apparent. Very few would go down the path of filling in team sheet and simply writing the name Smith. The Western Stars will be and it will all be legitimate.

Deanna Smith has played almost 250 Women’s National Basketball League games as a guard in a 13 year career, but this weekend she will add a new first to her career. She will become the first player to play in the WNBL and the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League when she turns out for the Western Stars.

Smith only managed six games for the West Coast Waves the season before after suffering a severe foot injury  that saw her spend three and a half months in a moon boot. She has not run for seven months and opted keep her basketball skills alive by taking up Wheelchair Basketball. She joined in on some social wheelchair basketball at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre where Wheelchair Sports WA is based. She was then approached by the Western Stars head coach, John Triscari, to play for the team.

She will be in some August company in the Western Stars with three Paralympic Silver medallists from London,  Sarah Vinci, Clare Nott, and Amber Merritt. The Stars came third last year in the WNWBL last. Hopefully Smith as an able bodied player with national basketball experience can take them to the elusive national championship in 2013.

May 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

And The Winner is… We Know.

Congratulations to cyclist Cameron Meyer who last night was awarded the WAIS Athlete of the year. This is the second time Meyer has picked up the award having won it in 2010, and winning it for the second time he joins an elite group of four athletes to have done the double; Hockey’s Rechelle Hawkes, along with Cyclists Darryn Hill and Peter Dawson.

Regrettably Cameron was unable to attend the dinner, as was the case with the WAIS Athlete with a disability of the year award winner, teenage swimmer Katherine Downie.

In fact it was a night of absentees as the Junior Athlete of the year another cyclist Kelsey Robson was also unable to attend, as was Justin Langer who was inducted into the Hall of Champions. Fellow inductee Lorraine Packham from hockey was there and it was great to hear her tales of yesteryear, as well as those of Olympic high jumper Chilla Porter.

It was great to see all of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who were in town acknowledged at the opening of the evening, and having them all on stage, however next time it may be best not to have the trophies on the stage at the same time, as many of these athletes who were nominated for awards were able to see the names on the trophies prior to them being announced!

Congratulations to all nominees, and thank you to WAIS for finally including athletes with a disability who have WAIS scholarships in the Junior Athlete of the year awards. Now all we have to see is the seniors with a disability included in the Athlete of the Year awards as happens in every other state. This was however a step in the right direction, and we know Rome wasn’t built in a day.

October 7, 2012 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Crunching the Numbers – A Key to Success

In today’s world everything is about growth. That is how economists seem to measure success. If that is the case then the London 2012 Paralympic Games truly were an outstanding success.

If you look at the number of competing nations at the games, there were 136 in Athens in 2004, 148 in 2008 in Beijing and in London 164 nations taking part, 15 appearing at their first Paralympic Games.

That would tend to indicate that there would have been more athletes in London, which was the case. There were 4,294 competitors in London in 2012 as opposed to just over 4,200 in Beijing – an official figure is hard to locate – and 3806 in Athens.

Yet the area that had the most growth was pre-sold tickets, with only 1000 pre-sold in Athens, 5000 in Beijing and a staggering 2.3million in London.

If Sydney put the Paralympic Games on the map, London has definitely taken it to another level, and Rio will have a hard act to follow. One of the key reasons for London’s success was the pricing of the tickets. Had they made other avenues to purchase tickets rather than just the internet, they could have even exceeded this figure. Certainly releasing tickets on line between midnight and 5am – as one ticket manager advised – was rather foolish, as very few normal people are on line at that time of night!

While on the subject of growth, there were 500 Paralympians drug tested at the Games as opposed to 200 in Beijing with weightlifters being the most tested.

11.2 million British people watched the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games more than three times the number who watched the opening ceremony in Beijing. However that could well have been down to the time difference and the fact that Great Britain was the host nation, even so it was great that so many people were interested enough to tune in.

Finally, one figure that has not been finalised but after just five days of the Paralympic Games organisers were concerned that the supply of 2,100 condoms was not going to be enough, and so another order was placed for the same amount to last the athletes through until the end of the games! Where do they get the energy!

September 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

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