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GC2018 to host largest para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history

The integrated para-sport program for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be the most extensive in Commonwealth Games history. The announcement, made by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC), coincides with the international Commonwealth Day celebrations today, March 14, and the launch of the 2016 theme of ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’.

Minister for the Commonwealth Games Stirling Hinchliffe joined Australian elite para-sport athletes, Evan O’Hanlon OAM, Brenden Hall OAM, Madeleine Hogan OAM, Rowan Crothers and aspiring para-triathlete, Sara Tait at an event in South Bank to announce details of the record-breaking program. Later today, in London, para-athletes will attend the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey and meet Her Majesty the Queen at a special reception at Marlborough House, home of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Mr Hinchliffe said:

Gold Coast 2018 is going for gold to deliver an inclusive Games and will host the largest para-sports program in its history.

We will be setting a new record in Commonwealth Games sporting history hosting up to 300 para-sport athletes and 38 medal events across seven sports, which is an increase of 45 per cent more athletes and 73 per cent more medals compared to the para-sport competition staged at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

I am also pleased to announce there will be an equal number of men’s and women’s events across all seven para-sports highlighting the commitment to equality and inclusion at the 2018 Games.

Welcoming the announcement, CGF President Louise Martin CBE said:

With the largest-ever number of para-sport events in Commonwealth sporting history, we are thrilled that Gold Coast 2018 will deliver an ambitious and welcome growth for the inclusive and integrated para-sport competition first presented at a Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002.

Today’s announcement to celebrate ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ ensures that the next edition of the Games will enable sports fans in Australia and across the world to support a record-breaking number of para-athletes at a Commonwealth Games.

Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said increasing the inclusion of people with disability in the Commonwealth Games was a step in the right direction towards creating equal opportunities for all Australians. Ms O’Rourke said:

People with disability should be supported to participate in and contribute to all levels of sport, and I am pleased that this has been recognised in time for Gold Coast 2018.

CGF and the GOLDOC are leading the way by integrating elite athletes with disability into the Games through the para-sport program. This program is already doing a fantastic job by putting para-athletes and their achievements in the spotlight.

 People with disability can achieve amazing things – such as winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games - if given the opportunity, and this program will give them the opportunity to do just that.

The GC2018 para-sport program has been developed by the CGF and GOLDOC in consultation with the International Paralympic Committee and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) to showcase the best para-sport in the Commonwealth. The sports to be contested during the April 4 – 15 2018 event are; Athletics, Swimming, Lawn Bowls, Powerlifting, Track Cycling, Table Tennis and Triathlon. The swimming and athletics program will double in size from previous Games. 

GOLDOC Chairman Nigel Chamier AM said he was delighted to announce that para-triathlon would make its debut at GC2018, building on the great success of the Triathlon competition in Glasgow 2014 and the sport’s increasing profile across the globe.

Para-sport at GC2018 will also reach its widest ever audience as the first ever wheelchair marathon (T54) at a Commonwealth Games takes to the streets and communities of the Gold Coast as part of the free road events.

Commenting on the announcement, renowned World, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games champion, Kurt Fearnley AM said:

I am so proud and can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate Commonwealth Day and ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, than this exciting announcement today.

Underpinning the new proposals, the sports program innovations in Transformation 2022, the CGF’s new strategic plan, ensures that member associations are supported and subsidised to enable them to send larger para-sport teams to GC2018 than any other Commonwealth Games.

Sir Philip Craven MBE, President of the International Paralympic Committee said:

It is fantastic news for all Commonwealth para-athletes that Gold Coast 2018 will stage the biggest para-sport program to date at a Commonwealth Games.  At Glasgow 2014 the para-sport events were extremely popular and I am sure the Australian crowds will turn-out in force to see some of the best athletes in the world line-up across seven sports.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the expanded GC2018 para-sport program would set the benchmark for future host cities. Cr Tate said:

A fantastic legacy from our Games would be for other host cities to also adopt an expanded para-sport program.

Having more world class athletes here competing at the pinnacle of their sport is great for our Games and great for the spectators.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be staged from 4-15 April 2018.

The 38 para-sport events are:

Aquatics (Swimming): (W) S8 50m Freestyle, S9 100m Freestyle, SB9 100m Breaststroke, SM10 200m IM, S7 50m Butterfly, S9 100m Backstroke / (M) S9 100m Freestyle, S9 100m Backstroke, S7 50m Freestyle, SB8 100m Breaststroke, SM8 200m IM, S14 200m Freestyle

Athletics: (W) T54 Marathon, T54 1500m, T38 Long Jump, T38 100m, T35 100m, F46 Javelin / (M) T54 Marathon, T54 1500m, T12 100m, T38 100m, T47 100m, F38 Shot Put

Cycling (Track): (W) Sprint B&VI, 1000m Time Trial B&VI / (M) Sprint B&VI, 1000m Time Trial B&VI

Lawn Bowls Men/Women: B2/B3 Mixed Pairs and B6/B7/B8 Open Triples

Powerlifting: (W) Lightweight, Heavyweight / (M) Lightweight, Heavyweight

Table Tennis: (W) TT10, (M) TT10

Triathlon: (W) PT1, (M) PT1

Commonwealth Day is celebrated across the Commonwealth on the second Monday in March every year.

It provides an opportunity to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of Commonwealth organisations. 

The Commonwealth-wide theme for 2016, launched on Commonwealth Day, is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’.

Each year, the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, marks the celebration with an interdenominational service held in Westminster Abbey. The Queen also delivers an address to the Commonwealth, which is broadcast throughout the world.