Disability Sports Australia (DSA) is announcing a change to its structure that will create exciting opportunities for wheelchair rugby in Australia. The change will provide greater development opportunities and growth for athletes, coaches and officials nationwide.
DSA is the Australian member organisation of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) since the IWRF’s inception in 1993 and has managed wheelchair rugby in Australia for over 25 years along with a range of other adaptive sport programs.
Recognising the need for wheelchair rugby to have its own focus, Disability Sports Australia has created a separate division, Wheelchair Rugby Australia (WRA), that will solely operate to drive and foster the development of wheelchair rugby nationally.
The announcement includes the appointment of Chris Nay as the General Manager of Wheelchair Rugby Australia. Chris joined DSA in 2018 as Manager, Marketing and Partnerships with a background as an elite rugby player and in major event management. He was instrumental in the success of the GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship held in Sydney and has developed a passion for the sport.
The creation of the separate division, Wheelchair Rugby Australia, has already resulted in some exciting initial steps forward for the sport including:
The appointment of an Advisory Board chaired by International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Board Member, Steve Loader;
A new, national WRA logo, with the opportunity to align state and territory logos consistent with the national body. Wheelchair Rugby Victoria and Wheelchair Rugby South Australia today launched the new branding representing their state programs
An agreement forming a close alignment and partnership with Rugby Australia (RA) that will deliver the following:
Capacity building for state program coaches, referees and players;
Marketing and exposure generation through RA aligned channels.
Greater state-level support between state rugby union bodies and state wheelchair rugby bodies
Steve Loader, Chair of Wheelchair Rugby Australia’s (WRA’s) Advisory Board and Deputy Chair of Disability Sports Australia (DSA) said, “The creation of Wheelchair Rugby Australia as a separate division of DSA will allow a focus on the growth and development of athletes, coaches and officials, and provide a clear pathway from initial involvement in wheelchair rugby to social participation and up to the elite level.”
“The new division of WRA will also allow for increased engagement with current stakeholders and the ability to directly involve new partners. I am excited for the future of wheelchair rugby in Australia and pleased that DSA will continue to provide support to WRA.”
The timing of the announcement coincides with the commencement of the 2019 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship this Friday at the world-class Quaycentre, Sydney Olympic Park. This year’s Championship is set to be among the most hotly contested in recent memory, featuring five full-strength Australian state teams along with the addition of the New Zealand Wheel Blacks.
The championship is gold coin entry and all games will be streamed live via www.wheelchairrugby.com.au
Friday, 28 June
10:00 Opening Ceremony
11:00 GIO NSW Gladiators v Queensland Cyclones
12:45 AAMI SA Sharks v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
14:30 Victoria Protect Thunder v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
16:15 Queensland Cyclones v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
18:00 Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks v GIO NSW Gladiators
19:45 AAMI SA Sharks v Victoria Protect Thunder
Saturday, 29 June
09:30 Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
11:15 Queensland Cyclones v AAMI SA Sharks
13:00 Victoria Protect Thunder v GIO NSW Gladiators
14:45 Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks v Queensland Cyclones
16:30 Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes v Victoria Protect Thunder
18:15 GIO NSW Gladiators v AAMI SA Sharks
Sunday, 30 June
09:00 Queensland Cyclones v Victoria Protect Thunder
10:30 GIO NSW Gladiators v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
12:00 AAMI SA Sharks v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
14:00 Bronze Medal Match
15:30 Gold Medal Match
17:00 Medal Presentation