Australia has gained a Paralympic Athletics champion as Vanessa Low announced on Tuesday that she will be switching her international affiliation from Germany to Australia.
Low will be competing as an Australian for the first time on June 23rd at the Integrative Sports Festival hosted by her German club, TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Leverkusen. That is Low’s home town but she has since moved to Australia, following time in the United States.
After the Rio Paralympic Games Vanessa Low moved in with her boyfriend, Australian Paralympian Scott Reardon. This will now see her take Australian Citizenship, which she is now eligible for, and thus making her eligible to represent Australia.
Her decision to switch allegiance to Australia comes as a matter of logistics, as Australia restricts athlete access to the best facilities only to people eligible to represent Australia. This is due to issues in the past with athletes using the facilities and the switching their international allegiance, most notably football player Josip Simunic who went on to represent Croatia.
The German Disabled Sports Federation (DBS) is obviously disappointed with president Julius Beucher saying in a press release (originally in German) “Obviously we are sad about this stem and to be losing an exceptional athlete and the face of our German Paralympic team. But Vanessa sees her future life in Australia and in order to continue in professional sports she’s asked us for a release. We did not want to put any obstacles in her way and wish her all the best for her future, both personally and in sport. She will surely be a great ambassador for the sport in Australia.”
At the event In Leverkusen Low will be donning the colors of her home town club one last time as she will wear the Bayer Leverkusen colors on the weekend, competing at the Manforter Stadium, maybe for the last time, with the free event starting at 4pm.