The Australian Paralympic Committee celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on Thursday by asking for Para sport to be included in the Arafura Games when it is hopefully relaunched in 2019.
The Arafura Games is an international multi-sport competition that is held in Darwin, with the last edition held in 2011. The games were unique in that in a number of sports para athletes compete alongside non-para athletes, but it is not clear that would necessarily happen going forward.
Currently the Northern Territory government is in negotiations to bring the sports event back to Darwin, and made it a part of their election campaign. Their hope is to bring the Arafura Games in 2019 once venues and participation is secured, but as of yet there has been no announcement confirming the event.
Australia is hoping that by keeping para sport in a future Arafura Games they will develop para sport in Oceania. The Arafura Games was regularly attended by the different Oceania nations giving them exposure to strong international competition outside of the Pacific Games events.
At a governmental level a working committee has been set up by the Northern Territory Government and earlier this week the Australian Paralympic Committee made a presentation. Performance Talent and Para sport manager Tim Matthews made a presentation to the steering committee making recommendations about adding in the Para events and any possible timing to the new Arafura Games.
“Among the limitations for the advancement of the Paralympic Movement in Oceania is the lack of athlete participation at international events. The potential reintroduction of the Arafura Games to the Para sport programme would mean that there are opportunities for exposure at an international level which equip athletes with the experience they need heading into a Paralympic Games – not to mention the chance to actually qualify for the Paralympic Games at an event such as Arafura.” Said Matthews after his meeting with Arafura, giving a big endorsement for the Arafura Games.