Joint Media Release
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Deputy Leader of The Nationals
Minister for Rural Health
Minister for Sport
Minister for Regional Communications
Senator for Victoria
The Hon Jane Prentice MP
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services
20 February 2018
Australia will send a strong team of 13 athletes to the Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang next month.
The team was announced today and the Minister for Sport, Senator Bridget McKenzie and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice congratulated them on their tremendous achievement of representing our country on the international stage.
“I congratulate all our athletes named in our Winter Paralympics team today and know you will give your very best in South Korea next month when you represent Australia,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Australia has been represented by talented athletes at every Winter Paralympics to date and has a rich and successful history, including 30 medals; 11 of them gold.
“The entire nation is looking forward to celebrating the journeys and achievements of you, our 2018 team.”
Australia’s athletes will compete in alpine skiing and snowboarding. They will be led by team captains, World Champion skier Mitch Gourley and multiple World Cup-winning snowboarder Joany Badenhorst.
“The stories of endeavour and ambition are everywhere. Bunbury’s Sean Pollard will make his Paralympic debut, having survived a shark attack in 2014. Queensland’s Simon Patmore will become only the sixth Paralympian to represent Australia at a Winter and Summer Games. Simon will compete in the snowboarding in South Korea, having claimed bronze in the T46 200m athletics at the 2012 London Paralympic Games,” Minister Prentice said.
“Visually-impaired athletes Patrick Jensen and Melissa Perrine will compete in partnership with their guides Lara Falk and Christian Geigier, wonderful examples of the trust required to perform at the elite level.”
“The Australian Government is proud to support our Winter Paralympic athletes and would like to acknowledge the superb job the Australian Paralympic Committee is doing to support and prepare this group of athletes, along with Ski & Snowboard Australia and Disabled Wintersport Australia,” Minister McKenzie said.
The Australian Government, via the Australian Sports Commission and AIS, invests more than $13 million annually directly to high performance Paralympic sports, supplemented by direct grants to athletes, known as dAIS.
Almost 700 athletes from 50 countries are expected to compete at the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games, staged from March 9–18 2018.
Minister McKenzie: Kate Woodbridge: 0409 679 924
Minister Prentice: Michael Dobbie: 0436 673 326
Australian Winter Paralympic team
Para-alpine skiing:Mitchell Gourley, Barwon Heads, VIC
Patrick Jensen, Birmingham Gardens, NSW
Jonty O'Callaghan, Melbourne, VIC
Victoria Pendergast, East Gosford, NSW
Melissa Perrine, Welby, NSW
Mark Soyer, Benalla, VIC
Sam Tait, Renwick, NSW
Patrick Jensen. Birmingham Gardens, NSW
Lara Falk (sighted guide for Jensen), Cooriemungle, VIC
Christian Geiger (sighted guide for Perrine), Hope Island, QLD
Para-snowboard:Joany Badenhorst, Griffith, NSW
Simon Patmore, Carseldine, QLD
Sean Pollard, Bunbury, WA
Ben Tudhope, Manly, NSW