Wheelchair rugby at the 2012 Summer Paralympics

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Wheelchair rugby
at the XIV Paralympic Games
Wheelchair Rugby, London 2012.png
Venue Basketball Arena
Dates 5 – 9 September 2012
Competitors 96 (8 teams)
1st, gold medalist(s) Australia  Australia
2nd, silver medalist(s) Canada  Canada
3rd, bronze medalist(s) United States  United States
Greg Smith unloads a pass at the London 2012 Games

Wheelchair rugby at the 2012 Summer Paralympics was held in the Basketball Arena, London from 5 September to 9 September. There was one event[1] where 8 teams competed.[2] Though technically a mixed gender event the vast majority of competitors at the games were male.[3]

History of Wheelchair Rugby[edit]

1977: Wheelchair rugby was invented by a group of tetraplegic athletes in 1977 in Winnipeg, Canada as an alternative to wheelchair basketball. They desired a sport that allowed athletes with both arm and leg function to participate equally.[4]

1979: As wheelchair rugby grew in popularity throughout Canada, it made its first appearance outside of Canada as a demonstration sport at Southwest State University in Minnesota, USA. The first Canadian National Championship was held in the same year.[5]

1981: First USA representative team was formed.[6]

1982: First international tournament that brought together various teams from the USA and Canada was held. From this point on, other local and national tournaments took place in various countries.[7]

1989: Great Britain became the first team outside of the continent to compete against Canada and USA in a tournament in Toronto, Canada.[7][8]

1990: Wheelchair Rugby appeared at the World Wheelchair Games in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain as an exhibition event, which generated further interest, growth and popularity in the sport internationally. Seven countries competed in this event.[9]

1993: Fifteen countries were competing in wheelchair rugby, and it was recognised as an internationally official sport for athletes with [10] impairments.

1994: Wheelchair Rugby was first officially recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).[11]

1995: The first Wheelchair Rugby World Championships were held in Nottwill, Switzerland, with eight teams competing.[5][12]

1996: Wheelchair rugby was included as a demonstration sport in the Atlanta Paralympic Games, with six teams competing.[13]

1998: As the sport continued to develop, Toronto hosted the second IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship, with 12 countries competing.[10]

2000: Wheelchair rugby was first included in the Paralympic programme at the Sydney Olympics.[14]

The USA won Paralympic golds in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics and the Beijing 2008 Paralympics; New Zealand took the title in the Athens 2004 Paralympics; and Australia won in London 2012. Currently, there are more than 40 countries that actively participate in the sport or who are developing programmes within their nation.[12][15][16]

Classification of Wheelchair Rugby[edit]

Paralympic sport exists so that athletes with a disability have equal opportunities to compete and be successful in sport. The purpose of classification is to ensure fair and equitable competition at all levels of sport and to allow athletes to compete at the highest level, regardless of individual differences in physical function.[9] Originally, classification systems were based on medical diagnoses rather than each athlete’s functional capacity. However more recent systems of classification are based on the athlete’s functional capacity to perform specific movements unique to each sport. This ensures that strategies and skills of the athletes competing in the sport are the deciding factors of success, rather than the discrepancies in various impairments.[14] Each Paralympic sport has a different classification system.

Wheelchair rugby was originally designed for athletes with tetraplegia, which is the paralysis of both the arms and legs.[16] Today, the sport also includes players with impaired upper and lower limb movement as a result of different conditions including muscular dystrophy and various types of central and peripheral nervous system conditions.[9] Athletes with conditions such as multiple amputations and congenital limb defects also participate. Athletes with an eligible impairment are allocated a sport class based on their abilities in performing the skills of ball handling, such as passing, catching, carrying and dribbling, and wheelchair skills including pushing, starting, stopping, directional changes, tackling and blocking.[14][16]

Each player’s classification is determined by a classifier that observes and tests the player’s movements. The classifiers test the athletes’ limbs for strength, flexibility, sensation, and muscle tone. Each athlete’s trunk is tested for balance, ability to bend over and rise up and the ability to rotate to both sides.[17] Athletes are then observed performing ball handling and wheelchair skills.

Athletes are then placed into one of seven classes ranging from 0.5 to 3.5 based on the functional capabilities observed in each athlete’s testing.[14] Athletes are placed into the class 0.5 if they are considered to demonstrate the most disability, and athletes are placed into the class 3.5 if they are observed with the least disability or minimal disability eligible to play wheelchair rugby.[18] The total amount of classification points from the combined players allowed on the court at any one time is 8.0. A team may compete with combinations adding to less than 8.0, however no higher.[16]

Class 0.5[14][16][19]

Typical role on the court: Main role is a blocker, not a major ball handler.

Chair skills/function: Because of extensive proximal shoulder weakness and lack of triceps function, there is a forward head bob present while pushing. Because of a lack of triceps strength, there is pulling on the back part of the wheel for the push stroke using biceps by bending the elbows; elbows are also out to the side when pushing. This is called an “unopposed biceps push”. Because of wrist extensor weakness and lack of other wrist and hand function, there may be use of the forearm on the wheel for starts, turns and stops.

Ball skills/function: Because of proximal shoulder weakness, as well as arm and wrist weakness, the traps direct passes onto the lap or bat it from limited range. The player bats the ball using “underhand volleyball passing” for a longer range pass, or for a shorter range pass they use a “scoop pass”.

Class 1.0[14][16][19]

Typical role on court: Blocker, may receive the ball, not a major ball handler.

Chair skills/function: Because of proximal shoulder and triceps weakness, the player may have a slight head bob when pushing, but has a longer push on the wheel (combination of push and pull on the back part of the wheel). Because of increased strength in the upper chest and shoulders, the player can perform multidirectional starts, stops and turns. The player can turn in all directions without stopping; they have easier and faster turning than class 0.5 athletes, however due to triceps and wrist weakness, these athletes may still use their forearms.

Ball skills/function: Forearms or wrist catch; weak chest pass or forearm pass.

Class 1.5[14][16][19]

Typical role on court: Excellent blocker and may also be an occasional ball handler.

Chair skills/function: Increased shoulder strength and stability allows for more effective and efficient pushing and ball handling skills.

Ball skills/function: Increased shoulder strength and stability allows for some distance and consistency to the chest pass. Typically the player has a wrist imbalance that causes limited ball security when passing. They may also have asymmetry present in their arms. If so, the player predominantly uses the stronger arm for chair and ball skills.

Class 2.0[14][16][19]

Typical role on the court: Increasing role on the court as a ball handler.

Chair skills/function: The player typically has very strong and stable shoulders that allow for good pushing speed on the court.

Ball skills/function: The player can perform effective chest passes with control over moderate distances. Because of a lack of finger flexion, there is limited ball security against defence during passing. The player can hold the ball with their wrists firmly, but does not have hand function.

Class 2.5[14][16][19]

Typical role on court: Ball handler and reasonable fast playmaker.

Chair skills/function: Due to excellent shoulder strength and stability, the player will display good pushing speed on the court. Functional grip is used to the players’ advantage on the push rim when challenged. The player may also have some trunk control, providing better stability in the chair.

Ball skills/function: The player has reasonably balanced finger flexion and extension without true grasp and release. They dribble the ball safely, however supinates the forearm to scoop the ball up onto their lap. Due to finger flexion strength, the player is capable of performing one-handed overhead passes, but has limited accuracy and distance because of imbalances in finger strength. The player can safely catch the ball, usually by scooping the ball onto the lap. They may catch single handed and scoop the ball into their lap or onto their chest. Class 2.5 players have improved ball security compared to class 2.0 athletes due to an improved ability to isolate wrist/finger function. They may have asymmetrical arm or hand function, noticeable with chair and ball handling skills.

Class 3.0[14][16][19]

Typical role on court: Very good ball handler and fast playmaker.

Chair skills/function: Because of balanced finger function, the athlete can grip the wheelchair rim, thereby increasing pushing speed. They may have some trunk control, providing better stability in the chair.

Ball skills/function: Because of improved function in the fingers, the player can control the ball in varying planes of movement for passing, dribbling, catching and protecting the ball during these activities. They can dribble and pass the ball with one hand, and can stabilise themselves with the opposite arm to allow greater reach (provided the athlete has no trunk function).

Class 3.5[14][16][19]

Typical role on court: Major ball handler and fast playmaker. Often the primary ball handler and playmaker on the team.

Chair skills and function: These players have some trunk function, and are therefore very stable in the wheelchair and able to use their trunk for ball and chair skills.

Ball skills/function: Due to the combination of hand and trunk function, these players usually have excellent ball control with one handed passing, as well as excellent ball security during passing and receiving. They may have asymmetrical arm or hand function, noticeable with chair and ball handling skills.

Rules of Wheelchair Rugby[edit]

Location and Equipment[edit]

Wheelchair rugby court.png

Wheelchair rugby is played on an indoor regulation sized basketball court (15m x 28m). The basketball key area is replaced by a wheelchair rugby key area (8m x 1.75m). The part of the end line within the key is called the goal line, and is marked with one pylon at each end.[8][10][20]

An official size and weight volleyball is used for play. The ball must weight 280 grams and be white in colour.

Wheelchair rugby is a contact sport, meaning that significant pressure is placed upon the players’ wheelchairs. Therefore they must be lightweight and easy enough to manoeuvre, while still being strong enough to withstand high impact forces and protect players.[10] The wheelchairs have several special features including bumpers at the front and wings to protect the side area. There are both attack and defence wheelchairs, the differences being that attack chairs have bumpers where the players’ feet are to make them difficult to stop and hold, while defence wheelchairs have a pick bar instead, which are designed for striking and holding the opposition. Metal disk wheel armour acts as spoke protectors and anti-tip devices are mandatory.[8][21] All wheelchairs must meet IWRF regulations.


Teams of four compete for four eight-minute quarters, aiming to score the greatest number of goals to win. Teams are allowed squads of 12, and substitutes are allowed throughout the game, however only while there are stoppages in play. To score, an athlete must cross the opposing team’s goal line in firm control of the ball; two wheels must cross the goal line for a goal to count. In the event of a tied score line at the end of regulation play, three minute overtime periods are played.[8][10][21]

Athletes must dribble or pass the ball every ten seconds, to avoid the referee handing possession of the ball to the opposing team. Teams are only allowed 12 seconds to move from their half of the court into the opposition’s, 40 seconds to attempt to score a point, and 10 seconds in the opponent’s key area. A team is not permitted to have more than three players in their own key while they are defending their own goal line.[8][10][21]

Physical contact between chairs is allowed and is an essential component of the game, however hitting the opponent’s chair from behind (the limit being behind the rear wheel) is not permitted. Making physical contact with the opponent is also outlawed. Failure to comply with these laws can result in the players losing possession of the ball, serving a one-minute penalty or being disqualified depending on the severity of the foul committed.[8][10][21]

The rules of wheelchair rugby ensure that the game is a thrilling and quick moving sport that requires significant skill and toughness from its competitors. To successfully score more goals than the opposition, fast pace and movements are the most desirable attributes. Due to the high tempo of the game with possession constantly changing hands, players require significant mental agility and stamina.[8][10][21]

Australian Steelers Heading Into the Games[edit]

Losing to USA in the gold medal match at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games has been all the motivation that the Australian Steelers have needed to push forward and become world number one.[11] However, the Steelers lost to USA again at the 2010 World Championships, meaning that they remained at the number two ranking.[20] The Australian Wheelchair Rugby team proceeded to win the 2011 Asia/Oceania Regional Championships, enabling them to qualify for the London Games in the process. They have since beaten Japan in 5 consecutive matches at a test series in Sydney, and competed at the Canada Cup; the last major tournament before the Games.[22] Australia lost to USA at the Canada Cup, and beat Japan in the bronze medal playoff, meaning that they moved to third in the world rankings immediately prior to the 2012 Games.[18]

Heading into the London 2012 Paralympic Games, six debutants were named in the team aiming to win their first Paralympic gold medal. Four time Paralympian Greg Smith was elected to carry the Australian Flag into the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony on August 29. The 45 year old received the flag in front of more than 260 members of the 305 strong Australian Paralympics Team, and waved it proudly in front of 80 000 people as he led the Australians into London’s Paralympic stadium.[11] Veteran player Nazim Erdem was elected to carry the Paralympic Flame through Cardiff, Wales, as it moved its way through Great Britain.[20] Erdem was given the honour by Australian Team Chef de Mission Jason Hellwig together with wheelchair rugby head coach Brad Dubberley as recognition for his services to Paralympic sport and wheelchair rugby.[22]

Prior to their first match against Canada, the Australian team had their first and only training session at the Olympic Park basketball stadium, where they replicated everything that would take place the following day except for the sell-out crowd.[18]


A NPC may enter one team. The host country directly qualifies, as long as it has a rank on the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Ranking List, [1] closing 31 January 2012.

Also two qualification spots goes to the top two NPCs on the ranking list that are not otherwise qualified.[2]

Qualified Means of qualification Date Venue Berths
 Great Britain Host country 1
 United States 2010 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships 21–26 September 2010 Canada Vancouver[15] 1
 Canada 2011 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby Zonal Championships – Americas 18–25 September 2011 Colombia Bogotá[9] 1
2011 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby Zonal Championships – European 1–9 October 2011 Switzerland Nottwil[9] 2
 Australia 2011 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby Zonal Championships – Asia, Oceania 2–10 November 2011 South Korea Seoul[9] 1
IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Ranking 31 January 2012 2


September 5 / 6 / 7 8 9
Phase Preliminary
Classification 5-8
Placement 5-6 & 7-8
Semifinals 1
Gold Medal Match
Bronze Medal Match


Basketball stadium at sunset (7706850110).jpg
Where: Basketball Arena - Olympic Park
Capacity: 10,000
After the Games: Temporary venue to be dismantled


All times are British Summer Time (UTC+1).

Preliminary Round[edit]

Group A[edit]

Qualified for the semifinals
Pld W D L G GA GD Pts
 United States (USA) 3 3 0 0 190 136 +54 6
 Japan (JPN) 3 2 0 1 164 159 +5 4
 Great Britain (GBR) 3 1 0 2 140 157 –17 2
 France (FRA) 3 0 0 3 150 192 –42 0

5 September 2012
United States  56 – 44  Great Britain
Aoki 14
Groulx 9
Team 7
McBride 6
Sumner 5
A. Cohn 5
Scaturro 3
Helton 2
Delagrave 2
Regier 1
C. Cohn 1
Springer 1
Report Phipps 16
Anthony 11
Brown 5
Morrison 5
Barrow 3
Kerr 2
Sehmi 1
Team 1
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 8,273
Referee: Pierre-Alexandre Brière (CAN), Chris van de Riet (NED)

5 September 2012
Japan  65 – 56  France
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 3,642
Referee: Mitch Carr (USA), Alexander Schreiner (GER)

6 September 2012
Great Britain  57 – 50  France
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 5,186
Referee: Motoko Izumiya (JPN), Darren Roberts (USA)

6 September 2012
Japan  48 – 64  United States
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 2,959
Referee: Philip Washbourn (NZL), Dave Woods (GBR)

7 September 2012
Great Britain  39 – 51  Japan
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 8,458
Referee: Mitch Carr (USA), Philip Washbourn (NZL)

7 September 2012
United States  70 – 44  France
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 6,259
Referee: Pierre-Alexandre Brière (CAN), Dave Woods (GBR)

Group B[edit]

Qualified for the semifinals
Pld W D L G GA GD Pts
 Australia (AUS) 3 3 0 0 182 142 +40 6
 Canada (CAN) 3 2 0 1 163 166 –3 4
 Sweden (SWE) 3 1 0 2 151 155 –4 2
 Belgium (BEL) 3 0 0 3 135 168 –33 0

5 September 2012
Sweden  52 – 42  Belgium
Uhlmann 15
Hjert 9
Jansson 7
Sandberg 6
Kulle 5
Norlin 4
Team 4
Collin 2
Report Mertens 20
Verhaegen 9
Genyn 6
Vanacker 3
Team 2
Budeners 1
Meersschaut 1
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 4,404
Referee: Motoko Izumiya (JPN), Philip Washbourn (NZL)

5 September 2012
Australia  64 – 52  Canada
Batt 37
Bond 10
Team 4
Carr 3
Harrison 3
Smith 2
Newton 1
Hose 1
Lees 1
Meakin 1
Scott 1
Report Lavoie 9
Hirschfield 8
Crone 7
Madell 7
Hickling 6
Whitehead 5
Willsie 4
Dagenais 2
Chan 2
Simard 2
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 5,539
Referee: Darren Roberts (USA), Dave Woods (GBR)

Australia comfortably defeated Canada in their first match of the Games, using their superior speed and organisation to outclass their counterparts. Canada scored first, however Australia then led for the rest of the match. The Steelers held a four point advantage after the first quarter; they led 31-26 at half time and 45-37 after the third period

Ryley Batt reinforced his reputation as the world’s best player by scoring 37 goals, giving him an outstanding tally of 160 from his five tournament starts. Australia effectively had the match wrapped up by the end of the first quarter, and required no second invitation to extend their lead to 64-52.[21]

6 September 2012
Sweden  47 – 60  Australia
Uhlmann 9
Norlin 8
Kulle 7
Hjelt 7
Collin 6
Team 4
Sandberg 3
Jansson 2
Wahlberg 1
Report Batt 30
Bond 14
Team 4
Carr 3
Newton 2
Smith 2
Harrison 2
Hose 1
Lees 1
Meakin 1
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 5,622
Referee: Pierre-Alexandre Brière (CAN), Alexander Schreiner (GER)

Australia completed a dominant second performance with a 60-47 win against Sweden. The match was physical and sometimes heated, however the Australians maintained their composure and controlled the match to come out victorious against the fourth ranked Swedish team.

The starting side of Chris Bond, Ryley Batt, Greg Smith and Nazim Erdem made an intense start to the game, leading 16-10 at the end of the first quarter. The replacements maintained the momentum, and the Australians led 32-21 at half time. The second half of the match was an erratic affair, with the physicality increasing throughout, however the Australians maintained control to extend their lead to 60-47 at full time.[21]

6 September 2012
Canada  58 – 50  Belgium
Madell 18
Hickling 9
Hirschfield 9
Lavoie 5
Chan 4
Whitehead 3
Simard 3
Team 3
Willsie 2
Funk 1
Report Mertens 24
Genyn 10
Verhaegen 5
Budeners 4
Team 4
Vanacker 3
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 6,225
Referee: Mitch Carr (USA), Chris van de Riet (NED)

7 September 2012
Australia  58 – 43  Belgium
Batt 29
Carr 11
Bond 9
Smith 4
Hose 1
Lees 1
Meakin 1
Harrison 1
Team 1
Report Mertens 14
Genyn 11
Verhaegen 5
Hendrix 4
Team 4
Budeners 3
Vanacker 2
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 2,822
Referee: Motoko Izumiya (JPN), Chris van de Riet (NED)

The Australians achieved their goal of winning every quarter of its three pool games following the 58-43 win over Belgium, as they dominated their way to the semi-finals of the Paralympics tournament. Australia’s outstanding defence denied Belgium any chance of an upset win.

Australia led 15-13 following the first quarter, before Ryley Batt and Chris Bond combined to extend the lead to 29-19 at half time. Solid defence laid the foundation for the 29-19 lead following the third quarter, before Australia ground out the final quarter by two points, to hold onto the 15 point win.[21]

7 September 2012
Canada  53 – 52  Sweden
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 5,469
Referee: Darren Roberts (USA), Alexander Schreiner (GER)
Classification round Fifth place
8 September 2012 - 09:30
  Great Britain  54  
  Belgium  49  
8 September 2012 - 21:15
      Great Britain  59
    Sweden  47
Seventh place
8 September 2012 - 11:45 8 September 2012 - 19:00
  Sweden  58   Belgium  54
  France  48     France  50

5-8th place Semifinals[edit]

8 September 2012
Great Britain  54 – 49  Belgium
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 1,567
Referee: Pierre-Alexandre Brière (CAN), Philip Washbourn (NZL)

8 September 2012
Sweden  58 – 48  France
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 2,994
Referee: Motoko Izumiya (JPN), Dave Woods (GBR)

Seventh place Match[edit]

8 September 2012
Belgium  54 – 50  France
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 1,734
Referee: Philip Washbourn (NZL), Dave Woods (GBR)

Fifth place Match[edit]

8 September 2012
Great Britain  59 – 47  Sweden
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 2,484
Referee: Mitch Carr (USA), Alexander Schreiner (GER)

Medal round[edit]

Semifinals Gold medal match
8 September 2012 - 16:15
  United States  49  
  Canada  50  
9 September 2012 - 14:15
      Canada  51
    Australia  66
Bronze medal match
8 September 2012 - 14:00 9 September 2012 - 12:00
  Australia  59   United States  53
  Japan  45     Japan  43


8 September 2012
Australia  59 – 45  Japan
Batt 27
Bond 14
Smith 6
Scott 2
Lees 2
Meakin 2
Newton 1
Carr 1
Harrison 1
Team 3
Report Ikezakli 24
Nakazato 7
Kanno 6
Shimakawa 4
Sato 2
Team 2
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 5,333
Referee: Mitch Carr (USA), Darren Roberts (USA)

Australia maintained their win-every-quarter record with a 59-45 victory over Japan to secure their spot in the gold medal final. With an 11 point lead at three-quarter time, Australia needed no further motivation to maintain this record while losing the last quarter by 2 points. The overall performance was a clinical and powerful one by the Australians, turning the match into a one-sided affair. This outcome meant that the Australians had secured the silver medal, and looked to win their first ever gold medal.[21]

8 September 2012
United States  49 – 50  Canada
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 4,324
Referee: Alexander Schreiner (GER), Chris van de Riet (NED)

Bronze Medal Match[edit]

9 September 2012
United States  53 – 43  Japan
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 7,852
Referee: Pierre-Alexandre Briére (CAN), Philip Washbourn (NZL)

Gold Medal Match[edit]

9 September 2012
Canada  51 – 66  Australia
Madell 11
Hickling 7
Whitehead 7
Murao 6
Chan 5
Willsie 4
Simard 3
Lavoie 2
Dagenais 1
Hirschfield 1
Team 4
Report Batt 37
Bond 15
Carr 4
Smith 2
Scott 1
Lees 1
Meakin 1
Newton 1
Harrison 1
Team 3
Basketball Arena
Attendance: 9,048
Referee: Darren Roberts (USA), Chris van de Riet (NED)

Australia completed its successful tournament by defeating Canada in the gold medal playoff. The win-every-quarter goal was achieved in this match, capping off a near-flawless campaign. The Australians once again got off to a flying start, leading 18-11 following the first quarter, and continued the trend to complete the match as 66-51 victors as Greg Smith scored the final point as the final siren sounded. The team was presented its reward by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, before heading to the Closing Ceremony and, later, enjoying their success with family, friends and teammates.[21][22]


Place Team
1st, gold medalist(s)  Australia
2nd, silver medalist(s)  Canada
3rd, bronze medalist(s)  United States
4.  Japan
5.  Great Britain
6.  Sweden
7.  Belgium
8.  France


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Mixed team  Australia (AUS)

Ben Newton
Nazim Erdem
Ryley Batt
Josh Hose
Jason Lees
Cody Meakin
Greg Smith
Chris Bond
Ryan Scott (captain)
Cameron Carr
Andrew Harrison
Coach: Brad Dubberley

 Canada (CAN)

Jason Crone
Patrice Dagenais
Garett Hickling
Ian Chan
Mike Whitehead
Trevor Hirschfield
Fabien Lavoie
Travis Murao
Jared Funk
David Willsie (captain)
Patrice Simard
Zak Madell
Coach: Kevin Orr

 United States (USA)

Chance Sumner
Seth McBride
Adam Scaturro
Chuck Aoki
Jason Regier
Scott Hogsett
Nick Springer
Will Groulx (captain)
Andy Cohn
Chad Cohn
Derrick Helton
Joe Delagrave
Coach: James Gumbert

Australia Player Profiles[edit]

XXXX15 - Ryley Batt - 3b - 2016 Team processing.jpg

Ryley Batt [10][23]

How acquired: Birth

Disability: Physical Impairment- Limb deficiency- arms and legs

Sport: Wheelchair rugby

Classification: 3.5

Date of Birth: 22/05/1989

Home: Port Macquarie, NSW

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2002

First Competed for Australia: 2003

Games Experience: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012

Heroes: Travis Pastrana

Career Highlights: Winning a Paralympic gold medal at London 2012

Greatest Moment: Named MVP at the 2010 World Championships

Bio: Born with a limb deficiency, Ryley does not have legs and required surgery to separate his fingers from each other. Ryley played competitively for the first time in 2002 before he represented his country for the first time the following year in Japan. At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, he became the youngest ever wheelchair rugby Paralympian at just 15. During London 2012, Ryley lead the team to victory, scoring 160 goals during the tournament, including 37 in the gold medal match. He also developed a cult following of wheelchair rugby fans from around the world, because of his speed and brutality on court. Outside of wheelchair rugby, Ryley is an adrenaline junkie. He loves to ride quad bikes and motorbikes in his spare time and can also often be found in his 4WD, looking for new adventure. As a passionate motorsports fan, Ryley says motocross star Travis Pastrana is his hero and role model.

310511 - Cameron Carr - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Cameron Carr[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 2.0

Date of Birth: 13/08/1977

Home: Port Macquarie, NSW

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2003

First Competed for Australia: 2005

Games Experience: Beijing 2008, London 2012

Heroes: Nelson Mandela

Career Highlights: Winning gold at the London 2012 Games

Greatest Moment: Winning the semi-final against Canada at Beijing 2008 that saw Australia progress to the gold medal game

Bio: With a decade of experience playing wheelchair rugby at an elite level, Cameron Carr is one of the most accomplished athletes on the Australian team. A sportsman from his youth, Cameron had a promising career in rugby league ahead of him and at the young age of 19, had signed a contract with the Sydney Roosters. The weekend before moving to Sydney, Carr was involved in a motor vehicle collision when a friend driving him home from a 21st birthday fell asleep at the wheel. His neck was broken as a result of the crash. Cameron was first introduced to wheelchair rugby through his rehabilitation clinic, but initially shied away from contact sport as an attempt to forget about the life he could have had playing rugby league. Seven years later, Cameron rediscovered his competitive streak and began what would eventually become a decorated career in sport. He first competed in wheelchair rugby in 2003 and was selected for Australia in 2005. He won a silver medal at the 2008 Paralympics and a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics. He is currently studying to be a clinical exercise physiologist at the Queensland University of Technology and expects to finish his degree after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

XXXX15 - Chris Bond - 3b - 2016 Team processing.jpg

Chris Bond[10][23]

How acquired: Bacterial infection

Disability: Physical Impairment – Limb loss – double below knee, left wrist and right four fingers

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 3.5

Date of Birth: 28/05/1986

Home: Mitchelton, QLD

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2010

First Competed for Australia: 2011

Games Experience: London 2012

Heroes: His parents

Career Highlights: Winning gold in London, being in the first Australian team to win the IWRF World Championships in 2014

Greatest Moment: Being on court and hearing the final whistle at the gold medal match in London

Bio: Chris Bond was 19 years old when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. During his treatment, he contracted a severe bowel infection which sent him into septic shock. The infection spread throughout his body, which quickly developed into gangrene.

With his life on the line, doctors made the decision to amputate both his legs below the knee, his left wrist and all but one of his fingers on his right hand, all before he could continue his cancer treatment. As a way of adjusting to life with prosthetic limbs, Chris turned to sport. A keen sportsman with a passion for rugby league, it made sense for him to continue down the path of sport and began swimming at the AIS pool. It wasn’t until 2010 when Australian Wheelchair Rugby Head Coach Brad Dubberley approached him that Chris’ rugby passion sparked up once again. Almost immediately he began training and playing in the wheelchair rugby national league. Chris was instrumental in the team’s first ever gold medal win at a Paralympic Games. He says winning every quarter of every game at the London Games is his career highlight to date as he had never before experienced so much adrenaline, endorphins and a rush of relief throughout his body at once and looks forward to experiencing that feeling once again at Rio 2016.

190411 - Nazim Erdem - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Nazim Erdem[10][23]

How acquired: Diving into shallow water

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 0.5

Date of Birth: 01/08/1970

Home: Roxburgh Park, VIC

Occupation: Manager at AQA Victoria

Started Competing: 1992

First Competed for Australia: 1999

Games Experience: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012

Heroes: Muhammad Al

Career Highlights: Beating New Zealand 40-39 in the semi final at Sydney 2000, winning gold at London 2012

Greatest Moment: Playing in front of a home crowd at Sydney 2000

Bio: Nazim acquired his injury by diving off a pier into shallow water and breaking his neck at 21 years of age. Prior to this accident, Nazim was an amateur boxer and a local AFL player. He discovered wheelchair rugby after being introduced to the sport during his rehabilitation. Nazim then went on to make his debut on the Australian team at the World Championships in New Zealand in 1990.

Nazim considers himself as an adrenaline junkie, leading him to become the first person with a spinal cord injury to paraglide solo in 2002. His other achievements outside of the sport include a diploma in computer programming, and he works as a manager at a disability service and support organisation in Victoria.

In 2012, Nazim was recognised as the oldest and most experienced player on the Australian Wheelchair rugby team. Prior to the 2012 games, Nazim had three Paralympic Games and two silver medals behind him, and brought home the long-awaited gold in 2012. Nazim described this as one of the greatest and most satisfying moments in his life.

190411 - Andrew Harrison - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Andrew Harrison[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 2.0

Date of Birth: 07/06/1987

Home: Bayswater North, VIC

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2005

First Competed for Australia: 2007

Games Experience: London 2012

Heroes: Peter Brock and Craig Lowndes

Career Highlights: Being selected for the 2010 World Championships, winning gold at London 2012

Greatest Moment: Witnessing the North Melbourne Football Club beat Carlton to win the 1999 premiership

Bio: Andrew acquired his injury by diving into shallow water and hitting his head on a rock on the bottom, resulting in quadriplegia. He soon went on to play his first game of wheelchair rugby in 2005, and made the Victorian state side in 2006. Andrew then made his Australian debut in 2007, and did not get selected again until 2010, where he has since maintained his position.

Outside of sport, Andrew is involved with an education program in schools across the country about spinal cord injuries. He also loves his motor sports, loves to go camping and fishing and eating strawberry and cream lollies.

XXXX15 - Jason Lees - 3b - 2016 Team processing.jpg

Jason Lees[10][23]

How acquired: Motor-cross accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 1.0

Date of Birth: 01/03/1977

Home: Hoppers Crossing, VIC

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2003

First Competed for Australia: 2009

Games Experience: London 2012

Heroes: Glenn Archer and Adam Gilchrist

Career Highlights: Being selected on the Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team for the 2010 World Championships, winning gold at London 2012

Bio: Jason was enjoying his passion for motorbikes in 2000 when he was involved in a motocross accident that saw him break his neck. After two years, he began playing wheelchair rugby for fun and as a means of keeping fit, when he decided to devote his career towards becoming a Paralympian and winning gold for Australia.

Jason was first selected to play for Australia at the 2009 Asia-Oceania Zone Championships in New Zealand, where the squad took out the gold. He has since represented Australia at the Four Nations Tournament and Canada Cup in 2010, the 2010 World Championships and the Great Britain Cup in 2011 – culminating in the London Paralympic Games.

Jason is still passionate about motor sport outside of wheelchair rugby, and enjoys drag-racing and driving through bush tracks in his off-road buggy.

190411 - Josh Hose - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Josh Hose[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 3.0

Date of Birth: 01/12/1986

Home: Footscray, VIC

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2008

First Competed for Australia: 2009

Games Experience: London 2012

Heroes: Kobe Bryant and Bear Grylls

Career Highlights: Winning silver at the 2010 World Championships, gold at London 2012

Greatest Moment: LA Lakers winning the 2010 NBA Championship

Bio: Josh was involved in a car accident in 2005 at the age of 18, leaving him with serious spinal damage , swelling on his brain and two collapsed lungs. He spent 2 weeks in an induced coma and underwent surgery for 6 hours to re-align his spine, before being introduced to wheelchair rugby during his rehabilitation.

After developing a keen interest in the sport, Josh began to progress through the ranks and eventually became recognised as a significant talent. He made his debut for Australia in 2008, however missed out on selection for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic games. Josh became an integral member of the team that won the London 2012 Paralympic games.

Outside of wheelchair rugby, Josh is an accomplished motivational speaker who delivers messages to various groups about road safety, goal setting and overcoming challenges.

310511 - Cody Meakin - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Cody Meakin[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair rugby

Classification: 2.5

Date of Birth: 27/12/1989

Home: Darwin, Northern Territory

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2010

First Competed for Australia: 2011

Games Experience: 2012 London

Bio: Cody was involved in a car accident in 2008 as a high school student at Canberra Grammar School, damaging his spine and leaving him with quadriplegia. Cody began playing wheelchair rugby in 2010 while participating in his spinal injury rehabilitation. Prior to his accident, Cody was a keen rugby union and Australian rules football player. By 2011, Cody had been selected in the Australian wheelchair rugby team and made his debut in the Great Britain Cup, before going on to be a part of the team’s victory at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

310511 - Ben Newton - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Ben Newton[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair rugby

Classification: 2.5/3.0

Date of Birth: 14/02/1988

Home: Brisbane, QLD

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2004

First Competed for Australia: 2011

Games Experience: London 2012

Bio: Ben acquired his disability from a car accident when he was two and a half years old. This left Ben as an incomplete quadriplegic. He began playing wheelchair rugby in 2004 after having watched a state representative team compete. Ben was named as the most valuable player following the 2010 Queensland Wheelchair Rugby State Championships. Ben was then named in the national team in 2010 before making his debut in 2011, before becoming a part of the gold-medal winning 2012 London Paralympics team.

Outside of wheelchair rugby, Ben had graduated from Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Psychology with 1st class Honours. As of 2012, he has been working as a DDA Community Engagement Officer for Queensland Rail.

310511 - Ryan Scott - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Ryan Scott[10][23]

How acquired: Car accident

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 0.5

Date of Birth: 03/03/1982

Home: Zillmere, QLD

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 1999

First Competed for Australia: 2001

Games Experience: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012

Heroes: Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher, boxer Kostya Tszyu and friend Peter Hall

Career Highlights: Winning silver in Beijing 2008 and winning gold in London 2012

Greatest Moment: Liverpool winning the 2005 UEFA Champions League

Bio: Ryan is the co-captain of the Australian Wheelchair Rugby team. Ryan damaged his spinal cord in a car accident at the age of 16, leaving him wheelchair ridden. After spending 6 months in rehabilitation, Ryan began playing wheelchair rugby on top of school studies. He was first selected in the Australian team in 2001, and has since represented his country in competitions including six Oceania Zone Championships, three World Championships and three Paralympic Games.

Ryan’s impairment has left him with little arm movement, enabling him to play an important defensive role in the team. Outside of wheelchair rugby, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching live sport and drag racing.

190411 - Greg Smith - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Greg Smith[10][23]

Disability: Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia

How acquired: Car accident

Sport: Wheelchair rugby, Athletics

Classification: 2.0

Date of Birth: 19/08/1967

Home: Ballarat, Victoria

Occupation: Athlete

Started Competing: 2004

First Competed for Australia: 2006

Games Experience: 2008 Beijing, 2012 London

Bio: Greg broke his neck in a car accident in 1987 while he was a physical training instructor with the Australian Army, leaving him with limited movement from the chest down. After one and a half years of rehabilitation, Greg acquired a racing wheelchair and began pursuing an athletics career. His Paralympics career began at the 1992 Barcelona Games, where he won a silver medal in the men's 4x100 m relay TW1–2, and bronze medals in the men's marathon TW2 and the men's 4x400 m relay TW1–2. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Greg won a silver medal in the men’s 5000m T51, and at the 1998 IPC Athletics World Championships in Berlin, he won four gold medals in the men's 800 m, men's 1500 m, men's 5000 m and the men's marathon. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Greg won three gold medals in the men’s 800m T52, 1500m T52 and 5000m T52, before receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Greg retired from wheelchair athletics in 2002, where he had a two year break. Greg then began participating in wheelchair rugby socially, and after his first season, he won the NSW State League Most Valuable Player Award and the National League Best New Talent. Greg first represented Australia in 2006 at the Canada Cup International Tournament, and went on to be a part of the team that won silver at the 2008 Beijing Games. Greg was the Australian flag bearer at the 2012 London Games, and was a part of the team that won gold. He has since retired from wheelchair rugby, but has an ongoing interest in the sport.

190411 - Brad Dubberley - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg

Brad Dubberley[10][23]

How acquired: Fell down a cliff

Disability: Quadriplegic

Sport: Wheelchair Rugby

Classification: 3.5

Date of Birth: 28/06/1981

Home: Kurri Kurri, NSW

Occupation: Head coach of Australian Steelers

Started Competing: 1995

First Competed for Australia: 1996 Test series with New Zealand

Games Experience: Played: 1998 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, 2000 Sydney Games, 2002 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, 2004 Athens Games, 2006 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships; Coached: 2008 Beijing Games, 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, 2012 London Games

Bio: As both a player and a coach, Brad has been participating in wheelchair rugby since 1998. Brad became a quadriplegic at the age of 12 after falling down a 50m cliff while playing with friends in the bush in Victoria. He then took up wheelchair rugby in 1995 at the age of 14 as a part of his rehabilitation process.

Throughout his playing career, Brad competed in over 70 international competitions, most prominent of which are listed above. In 1998 Brad was awarded the Australian Junior Paralympian of the Year, and in 2009 he was awarded the Primary Club of Australia’s Sir Roden Cutler Award for his services to wheelchair rugby.

Brad began coaching as soon as he retired from playing wheelchair rugby, and has since coached the Australian Steelers to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing games and 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, and gold at the 2012 London Games. Brad is a frequent visitor to spinal units offering advice and support, and his message is “don’t let the chair stop you from doing anything!”.



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  6. ^ a b GWRC (2016). "Wheelchair Rugby History". Caledonian Crushers GWRC. 
  7. ^ a b c IWAS (2016). "History of Wheelchair Rugby". International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation. 
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  13. ^ a b IWRF (2005). "A layperson's guide to wheelchair rugby classification". International Wheelchair Rugby Federation. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l IPC (2016). "Official website of the Paralympic Movement". Sport week: Classification in wheelchair rugby. 
  15. ^ a b 2010 WWRC, Official website of the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships – Vancouver, Canada.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l BPA (2015). "Classification". Australian Paralympic Committee. 
  17. ^ a b Paralympic Movement (2012). "Wheelchair Rugby". Official Website of the Paralympic Movement. 
  18. ^ a b c d McGarry (2016). "Wheelchair rugby history: the Australian Steelers' big matches at the Paralympics". ABC News. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wheelchair Rugby Mixed TOURNAMENT SUMMARY" (PDF). London 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c d e Telegraph Sport (2012). "London 2012 Paralympics: wheelchair rugby guide". The Telegraph. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sygall (2012). "Wheelchair Rugby News". Australian Paralympic Committee. 
  22. ^ a b c "London 2012 Paralympics: wheelchair rugby guide". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Blogs". www.paralympic.org. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  24. ^ Telegraph Sport (2012). "Paralympics 2012: Australia crowned wheelchair rugby champions after defeating Canada 66-51 in final". The Telegraph. 

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