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World wheelchair rugby championship to be held in Australia 2018

The 2018 wheelchair rugby world championship allows sport to be more inclusive, showing those with disabilities that life can get better. Disability Sports Australia CEO Jenni Cole spoke about the life-changing effect of wheelchair sports: “When they suddenly realise they can play sport and they see other people with similar injuries doing what they never imagined they could do again – having fun, being a bit crazy, it changes their lives.”

Cole explains that the sport will also reach those in minority communities: “We’re also hoping to really start to interact more with the multicultural community and reach athletes with a disability from those communities that maybe we haven’t seen as many of yet.”

Australia has been a firm favourite to host the championships, particularly as they hold the number one title for wheelchair rugby in the world. Victoria Thunder athlete Jason Lees echoes the ability for wheelchair sports to change lives: “For me it was a way to meet other people in wheelchairs, saying fit, being part of a team again which is something I love doing.”

Many players cite the physicality of wheelchair sports, allowing players more freedom to express themselves. Lees says “it’s probably what we like most about playing, the physical side of the game and when you can win as a team after the game hanging out with the boys and stuff like that, it’s a good feeling.”

Four Australian states, New Zealand and Japan will all be taking part in the National Wheelchair Rugby Championships, held until July 9 at Netball Central.

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