Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck and Australian Sports Commission Chair Josephine Sukkar have encouraged Australians to throw their support behind our Paralympic squad.
The small but dedicated squad of nine will today kick-start their campaigns at the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games 2022.
Minister Colbeck said the Australian Government had been proud to provide record support to Australia’s Winter Paralympics team in the lead-up to Beijing.
“It may be a small team in numbers, but we couldn’t be prouder how they have overcome huge challenges to be in Beijing representing Australia,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Australian Government, through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), has invested almost $5 million in Winter Paralympic sport over the past four years - an increase of some 73 per cent since the 2018 Games in PyeongChang".
“This includes more than $800,000 in direct AIS grants to athletes".
“It’s fantastic to see every single athlete on this Australian Paralympics team has been supported by these direct grants, along with other emerging athletes who will be targeting the 2026 Games in Milano-Cortina.”
Minister Colbeck also acknowledged the work of support teams who work behind the scenes to support athletes including Chef De Mission Kate McLoughlin and Paralympics Australia.
Australia has a proud history at the Winter Paralympics, having competed since 1976, in all collecting 34 medals – including 12 gold.
Ms Sukkar said AIS support extended beyond funding and was always about supporting athletes to progress.
“One of the most experienced athletes on the team is downhill skier Mitchell Gourley, who has worked with the AIS Engineering team since 2018 on customised 3D printed arm guards that attach to his arm prothesis and help him deflect the gate poles on course.
“Para-snowboarder Ben Tudhope was 14 when he made his Paralympic debut. At 22 he’s still the youngest member of the team, but has now progressed to be a co-captain alongside Melissa Perrine.
“We can’t wait to watch this team in action and the AIS is proud to support them, through funding and investment, innovation and technology, medicine and sport science, wellbeing and community engagement, and coaching and leadership.”
Australian Winter Paralympics Athletes
- Rae Anderson – alpine skiing
- Mitchell Gourley – alpine skiing
- Josh Hanlon – alpine skiing
- Patrick Jensen – alpine skiing
- Amelia Hodgson - sighted guide for Patrick Jensen
- Melissa Perrine - alpine skiing
- Bobbi Kelly - sighted guide for Melissa Perrine
- Sam Tait – alpine skiing
- Ben Tudhope - snowboarding