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Michelle Rzepecki

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Michelle Rzepecki
150611 - Michelle Rzepecki - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg
2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Rzepecki
Personal information
Nationality Australia
Born (1986-11-06) 6 November 1986 (age 30)
Wollstonecraft, New South Wales
Height 173 cm (68 in) (2012)
Country Australia
Sport Goalball

Michelle Rzepecki (born 6 November 1986) is an Australian goalball player classified as a B3 competitor. She made her debut for the Australia women's national goalball team at the 2011 African-Oceania regional Paralympic qualifying competition. She was selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in goalball. [1]

Personal life[edit]

Rzepecki was born on 6 November 1986 in Wollstonecraft, New South Wales,[2] and is 173 centimetres (68 in) tall.[3] She has the visual disability rod monochromatism, which she acquired at birth.[2][4] She can play the saxophone and piano.[2] Rzepecki is a third-generation Australian, as her grandfather moved to Australia from Germany.[2] While attending Castle Hill High School,[5] she returned to the country of her grandfather's birth to do study abroad that was funded by a scholarship from the Society for Australian-German Student Exchange Inc.[5] She also lived in Bolivia for a while, working at a school for children with visual impairments. While there, she introduced the children to goalball.[2] Part of her work in the country was funded by a mini-grant.[6] As of 2012, she works as a Sydney Tower Skywalk guide.[2]


Rzepecki is a goalball player, and for visual disability sports, is classified as a B3 competitor.[2] She is a centre and winger.[3][7] She has a goalball scholarship with the New South Wales Institute of Sport.[8] Rzepecki started playing the sport in 2002.[2] She competed at the 2004 Australian National Goalball Championships, playing for the New South Wales goalball team which beat the Queensland goalball team in the finals.[2] In 2011, Rzepecki made her national team debut during the African-Oceania regional Paralympic qualifying competition.[2][3][9][10][11] She played in the game against the New Zealand women's national goalball team that Australia won.[10][11][12] As a member of the 2011 team, she finished sixth at the IBSA Goalball World Cup.[9][12][13][14]

The Australian Paralympic Committee had chosen to work on her development as a goalball player with the idea that she might be able to qualify for, and win a medal at, the 2016 Summer Paralympics.[14] She was a named a member of the Aussie Belles that was going to the 2012 Summer Paralympics,[2][4][8][13][15] in what would be her debut Games.[8] That the team qualifyied for the Games came as a surprise, as the Australian Paralympic Committee had been working on player development with an idea of the team qualifying for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.[13] An Australian team had not participated since the 2000 Summer Paralympics, when they earned an automatic selection as hosts, and the team finished last in the competition.[13][16] Going into the Paralympics, her team was ranked eighth in the world.[8] In the 2012 Summer Paralympics tournament, the Belles played games against Japan, Canada, the United States and Sweden. They lost every game, and did not advance to the finals.[17]

The Belles originally failed to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics after finishing third at the IBSA Goalball Asia Pacific Championships in Hangzhou, China.[18] They were displaced to allow for an African team, Algeria as it turned out, to compete in goalball for the first time.[19] But following the re-allocation of Russia's spot, the Belles found themselves getting a last minute invite to Rio.They entered the tournament ranked ninth in the world.[20] They performed better this time, fighting Uzbekistan to a draw, but they needed a win or draw in their final game against Canada to progress to the quarter finals, but lost 6-0, ending their second Paralympic campaign.[19]


  1. ^ "2016 Australian Paralympic Team receives nine extra spots". Australian Paralympic Committee News, 29 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Michelle Rzepecki". Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "NSW Ladies". NSW Goalball Association. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "AAP News: OLY:Australian goalballers London bound". Australia: AAP News. 8 May 2012. WAAP97280181. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Past Scholarship Winners Archive". The Society for Australian-German Student Exchange. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Mini-grant program with". Sustainable Bolivia. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Tough lesson for Aussie goalball". Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Michelle Rzepecki". NSWIS. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Goalball teams named for Paralympic showdown". Australian Paralympic Committee. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "AAP News: SPO:Aus goalballers play for London 2012 spots". Australia: AAP News. 16 November 2011. WAAP92597477. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Aus goalballers play for London 2012 spots". Australia: Nine MSN. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Deborah FitzGerald (24 November 2011). "London here we come". Inner West Courier. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d Fife, Janet (14 June 2012). "Pride of Australia nominee Georgina Kenaghan is giving her team that ring of confidence". Sydney, Australia: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Fife-Yeomans, Janet (14 June 2012). "Giving team that ring of confidence - - PRIDE OF AUSTRALIA". Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia. p. 12. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Tilley, Andrew (22 May 2012). "News". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Australian London 2012 athletes receive extra funding | London 2012 Paralympic news". 29 June 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Women's Goalball". Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Curtain draw on Rio 2016 as Australian Belles claim bronze". Australian Paralympic Committee News. 13 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Spits, Scott (14 September 2016). "Rio Paralympics 2016: Silence please! Brazilian fans get their taste of goalball at the Paralympics". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  20. ^ McDonald, Margie (25 August 2016). "Rio Paralympics Paralympic team grows by nine after Russian ban upheld". The Australian. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 

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