Greg Hartung, vice president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and president of the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), recently launched a new Paralympic sports program in which the APC will partner with the Australian Defense Force (ADF) Paralympic sports program. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Canberra, Australia, where Hartung was joined by the Chief of the Defense Force Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston.
Hartung and Houston said that the partnership with the ADF is an important step in growing the Australian Paralympic movement by providing previously unavailable opportunities to wounded and injured ADF members.
“Signing the memorandum of understanding between the Defense’s Joint Health Command and the Australian Paralympic Committee is a significant step for Paralympic sport in this country,” Hartung said. “It opens up a wealth of possibilities for those ADF members who have acquired a disability to gain access to APC’s world-class sports science, sports medicine, and high-performance coaching programs.”
Through the partnership, the APC will work with the ADF to provide program participants with advice on specialized physical-fitness training and rehabilitation, effectively beginning some participants’ journey toward representing Australia at the Paralympic Games.
“In this way, there is a natural connection between the APC and the ADF and we hope that through the extensive knowledge of our APC staff, this partnership is able to produce some world-class athletes, as well as help ADF members who have acquired a disability to rehabilitate and move on with their lives,” Hartung added.
The ceremony also included Paralympic gold medalist and world-record holder Heath Francis, who described the benefits Paralympic sports can offer to people who have sustained a serious injury. He concluded, “As an Australian Paralympic athlete, there is no greater thrill than competing at the Paralympic Games, and achieving success.”