Paralympics Australia is proud to announce a Team of 10 athletes for the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, starting on March 4, including two competitors heading to their fourth Games, one who last weekend won two World Cup gold medals and another who is set to become the seventh Australian to compete at both the Summer and Winter Games.
PyeongChang 2018 dual bronze medallist Melissa Perrine and fellow three-time Paralympian Mitchell Gourley are the most experienced members of the Team, which features six male athletes, two female athletes and two female sighted guides.
The youngest member of the Team is Para-snowboarder Ben Tudhope, 22, who made his Paralympic debut at Sochi 2014 aged just 14. Tudhope won two gold medals at World Cup events in Sweden over the weekend and finished on the podium at every SBX Para World Cup event this season.
Tudhope is the only snowboarder in the Team. All Australia’s other representatives will compete in Para-Alpine Skiing. Among them is Rae Anderson, who came fifth in the Javelin F37 classification at the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics and joins a select group of athletes who have successfully transitioned between seasonal sports at the elite level. Also named was Josh Hanlon, a former Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy footballer who will make his Paralympic debut at Beijing.
The other members of the Team are Sam Tait, Jonty O’Callaghan and Patrick Jensen, who will each compete at their second Paralympics, and sighted guides Amelia Hodgson and Bobbi Kelly, who will each make their Games debut.
Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Catherine Clark congratulated the athletes on their selection.
“Being named in an Australian Paralympic Winter Team is an enormous achievement, but perhaps more so for these Games than any other,” Clark said.
“These 10 athletes have shown the very best of our Paralympic movement, displaying remarkable resilience and determination to remain at the elite level throughout all the challenges of the past two years.
“I would like to thank Snow Australia, including Chief Executive Michael Kennedy and his dedicated staff, for their hard work leading up to this campaign. As a program, you faced numerous obstacles, including cancelled camps, limited training and competition opportunities, border restrictions, lockdowns and more, yet provided an extraordinary level of support to this Team.
“The next assignment is the Games itself and I cannot wait to see this wonderful group of athletes write the next chapter in our nation’s proud history at the Winter Paralympics.”
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The Team will be led by Kate McLoughlin, who is the first woman to be appointed Chef de Mission of an Australian Paralympic Winter Team. McLoughlin was Chef de Mission of Australia’s Teams at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
“I’m so thrilled to be able to support our awesome Team at Beijing 2022,” McLoughlin said.
“We have a great mix of experience and athletes on the rise who now have the chance to show the world what they’re capable of and set a great example to all Australians.
“We have an amazing tradition of punching above our weight at the Winter Paralympics, stretching right back to the first Games, at Örnsköldsvik in Sweden in 1976, winning 34 medals, including 12 gold.
“It’s been a difficult lead-in to these Games, but I’m in awe of the tenacity our athletes have shown and I’ve got no doubt they’ll make Australia proud when they compete in Beijing next month.”
By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 2 February 2022