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PM launches 2012 Australian Paralympic Team
The Australian Paralympic Team to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games was officially launched today by Greg Hartung, President of the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).
Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Julia Gillard, and the Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, joined the launch in Parliament House in Canberra and wished the Australian team every success on behalf of the Australian public.
There are just 65 days to go until the Paralympic Games opening ceremony on 29 August, 2012.
“The Paralympic Games is unrivalled as the pinnacle of sport for elite athletes with a disability and later this year we will see London host what it is expected to be the largest and most competitive Paralympic Games ever,” Mr Hartung said.
“Australia will need its strongest Paralympic Team ever in order to maintain our position in the top five on the gold medal tally, and the APC believes this Team is well prepared to take on the challenge.
“The standard of competition increases at every Paralympic Games and the level of competition in London will be unparalleled. Nations around the world have dramatically increased their investment in Paralympic sport and Australia will face extremely strong teams from every continent.
“Through years of planning and support, the APC has ensured the athletes on the 2012 Paralympic Team are the best prepared and best supported possible, and we now look forward to seeing them compete in front of the whole world.”
Athletes from every Australian state and territory have earned selection for London 2012.
Set to contest 13 sports, including goalball for the first time since Sydney 2000, the Australian team will consist of 161 athletes, around half of whom will be attending their first Games.
The first-timers will be joined by athletes with a vast array of experience, including shooter Libby Kosmala, who will be heading to her 11th Paralympic Games as an athlete.
Having participated at every Paralympic Games since the first summer Games in Rome 1960, Australia has maintained its place in the top five on the gold medal tally since Atlanta 1996, including a number one ranking at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Now, with London in its sights and with 989 medals – 961 at the summer Games and 28 at the winter Games – the 2012 Team is on the verge of earning Australia its 1000th Paralympic medal.
More than 4,200 athletes from 165 countries will compete at the London Paralympic Games over 11 days in front of an expected global audience of 3 billion viewers.
Athletes will depart for the Games from the end of July, with eight of the 13 sports training at the APC’s Staging Camp in Cardiff for the month of August before the Games begin 29 August, 2012.
By APC Media