Our Paralympic hopefuls have headed to Europe as they make their final bids to qualify for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, which start in 100 days from today.
Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said Australia’s Paralympic aspirants are now in the Northern Hemisphere to compete in the current World Cup season, with qualification points up for grabs.
“Our NSW stars have put in an incredible effort to train hard and reach their peak performance, especially during recent months when they were unable to travel due to COVID restrictions,” Mrs Ward said.
“They’ve been supported by great coaches and support staff who have all done an amazing job at creating optimal training environments so our athletes can reach their potential.”
Our athletes will compete in snowboarding and alpine skiing events in Europe, aiming to qualify for the Games before the 14 February deadline.
Among those vying for selection is NSWIS scholarship holder Ben Tudhope, who hopes to take part in his third Winter Games as Australia’s only Para Snowboarder. Now aged 21, he was Australia’s youngest ever Winter Paralympian when he made his debut in 2014 at Sochi.
“I’m very excited to showcase Para snowboarding to Australia and the world. Our sport has progressed rapidly with new and changed events since the Paralympics in Korea, so we’ll definitely be putting on a thrilling show,” Mr Tudhope said.
“I can’t wait to be back in a Paralympic environment and if I can capture everything that Beijing has to offer like I did as a 14-year-old in Sochi, I know I will be ready for the competition”.
Mr Tudhope narrowly missed out on the bronze medal in PyeongChang 2018 and is expected to be one of Australia’s top medal prospects at Beijing.
The Games will be held from 4 March to 13 March 2022, with Kate McLoughlin the first female Australian Chef de Mission to hold the position for a Winter Paralympics.
Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games and these will be the first Winter Paralympics held in China.