Joint Media Release
The Hon Peter Dutton6 March 2014
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Assistant Minister for Social Services
Minister for Sport Peter Dutton today wished Australia’s Paralympians the best of luck as they ready for competition on the eve of 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Australia’s athletes are set to compete in two of the six disciplines on the Sochi Winter Games program - alpine skiing and para-snowboard. The team consists of six alpine skiers, two sighted guides and three snowboarders.
“I am confident our Paralympians will do us proud as they represent Australia at the pinnacle of their chosen sports,” Mr Dutton said.
The Minister responsible for disability, Senator Mitch Fifield, also sent his best wishes to the Paralympians.
“The elite athletes who will compete at the Paralympic Winter Games are truly inspiring and I wish them all the very best as they strive to realise their athletic ambitions in Sochi,” Senator Fifield said.
Mr Dutton said there were several strong medal chances among the Paralympians aiming for a top-15 finish on the medal tally.
“Alpine skiers Mitchell Gourley and Melissa Perrine are among Australia’s strong medal hopes, and like all Australians, I hope Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, will be able to compete in his fourth Paralympic Games following his training accident in Sochi yesterday.
“Incredibly, Jessica Gallagher was the first Australian female athlete to compete at both a summer and winter games and will be competing in her third Paralympics in four years as she looks to add to her bronze from Vancouver in 2010.
“The blend of experienced competitors and athletes on debut ensures Australia is well positioned to meet the team’s aim of beating its efforts at the Vancouver Games where Australia won one silver and three bronze medals.”
The Federal Government has allocated $550,000 to the Australian Paralympic Committee to support its Winter Paralympic program in 2013-14.
Media Contacts: Minister Dutton – John Wiseman – 0401 776 108
Senator Fifield – Lydia Bevege – 02 6277 7280