It might be two years away but this this international sporting event is already stirring up excitement. For the first time, Australia will host this gathering of elite sportsman at Sydney Olympic Park when 12 teams, including reigning Paralympic and world champions, the Australian Steelers will defend their world title on home soil.

Disability Sports Australia, the governing body for Wheelchair Rugby in Australia won the international bidding process to hold the event following intense competition from the USA and South Korea. DSA CEO, Jenni Cole attributed the winning bid to the combined expertise from a number of organisations. “We already have shown our success in delivering national and international events and our collaboration with the Australian Rugby Union and its wealth of experience in running major events was very helpful to our bid. Also our partnership with the Australian Defence Force, with its strong focus on rehabilitation with personnel, certainly contributed. Our bid was well thought through and we were confident that what we offered was achievable,” Cole told F2L.

When the event is held it will be 18 years since the Sydney Paralympics when wheelchair rugby made its debut. Since then Australia has participated in every Paralympic and World Championships for wheelchair rugby. DSA will be taking a targeted and strategic approach when seeking Government support and sponsorships for the event, Cole said. “We are engaging with multicultural and Aboriginal communities around ceremonial aspects but these are at an early stage of consultation.

“It will be exciting and entertaining and we are looking forward to the Australian community getting behind the event. The success of our bid is a milestone for Australian sport.”

She said wheelchair rugby was one of the most popular sports during the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. And it has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1976. “Previously known as ‘murder ball’ it has showcased the fierce and competitive nature of sport for athletes with a disability and captivated viewers worldwide,” Cole added.

The championships will be held from August 4-10, 2018.