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20 August 2013

Murderball to hit Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral Square

For the first time ever, wheelchair rugby is making its way to Sydney’s CBD for three-action packed days of world class competition at the Be the Influence Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations.


The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) unveiled that the Be the Influence Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations will be held outdoors for the first time in Australia, at St Mary’s Cathedral Square from 18-20 September 2013.

Boasting the number one player in the world, Ryley Batt, the Australian Steelers have assembled an awe-inspiring team of superstars including the likes of Chris Bond and Cameron Carr to take on wheelchair rugby powerhouses the USA, and cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand in a battle for the inaugural Tri-Nations Cup.

It will be the first time the Australian Steelers will take to the court on home soil since winning the Paralympic gold medal at last year’s London Games, and since losing their number one ranking to the USA in a tournament in Denmark in June.

“We were on such a high after winning gold at the Paralympics last year. We played our perfect tournament of wheelchair rugby, so to lose that number one world ranking earlier this year was pretty devastating for us,” said Ryley Batt.

“The USA is arguably one of the best teams in the world, so too is New Zealand and we’re going to have a real contest on our hands here in Sydney this September.

“As co-captain of the team, I’ve got every confidence that we can take the USA on, we can take New Zealand on and we can win. It will be great to do that in front of a home crowd as a way to say thank you for all the amazing support during last year’s Paralympics.”

In a first for the APC, it will be erecting a purpose-built wheelchair rugby court and three small grandstands alongside Sydney’s busy College Street, in what APC Chief Executive Jason Hellwig believes is a perfect opportunity to promote one of Paralympic sport’s flagship sports.

“The momentum and interest in our Paralympic athletes and sports continues to steamroll almost a year since the London Paralympics and I have no doubt that is down to the quality and talent of our athletes in representing Australia on the world stage,” said Hellwig.

“Wheelchair rugby was one of the most popular sports in London, and having staged two international wheelchair rugby events before now, we know that it’s just as popular in Australia.

“We hope that by holding the event here, in the heart of Sydney, we can capture the curiosity of thousands more Australians and give them a taste of what wheelchair rugby is all about.”

Originating in Canada in 1977, wheelchair rugby combines elements of basketball, football and ice hockey and is an intense, physical team sport for men and women athletes with quadriplegia or a disability that affects all four limbs.

Players are classified according to their level of functional ability and are assigned a point value from 0.5 to 3.5 points – the higher the points, the more functional ability the athlete has.

Since making its debut at the Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000, Australia has won two silver medals, and most recently gold in London.

Tickets to the Be the Influence Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations go on sale Wednesday 14th August through Ticketmaster: http://bit.ly/16cT7k1


By APC Media