Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Quadriplegia
Wheelchair Rugby
How acquired
Diving into shallow water
Date of Birth
August 1, 1970
Roxburgh Park, VIC
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016


Muhammad Ali

Greatest Moment

Being a part of the team that won Australia’s first ever wheelchair rugby gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games


Five-time Paralympian Nazim Erdem is the oldest and most experienced player on the Australian wheelchair rugby team.

After bringing home the long-awaited gold missing from his medal collection in a 51-66 defeat of rivals Canada at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Nazim was a part of the Steelers side which became the first team in wheelchair rugby history to win consecutive Paralympic gold medals and a World Championship title in a four-year period, defeating the USA 59-58 in a double-overtime thriller at Rio 2016.

Growing up, Nazim enjoyed timing how long he could hold his breath, becoming so good that he was eventually able to hold it for up to three minutes. Then at 20, when he broke his neck diving off a pier and faced the prospect of drowning, equipped with a lifetime of practice, he was able to hold his breath for the two-and-a-half minutes it took before his mates pulled him from the water.

An amateur boxer and Aussie Rules player before his accident, Nazim found a new sporting outlet in wheelchair rugby after being introduced to it during rehab, making his Paralympic debut eight years later at the Sydney 2000 Games.

In 2002, adrenaline junkie Nazim became the first person with a spinal cord injury to paraglide solo. He was also the first person with a spinal cord injury to complete the Targa Tasmania, a six-day car race across the state.

The Roxburgh Park local admires Muhammad Ali for his determination to succeed despite the odds, and in 10 years’ time he hopes to still be involved in wheelchair rugby, encouraging aspiring athletes with similar injuries to pursue their dreams.

Nazim holds a Diploma in Computer Programming from North Metropolitan TAFE, and works as a manager at a disability service and support organisation in Victoria.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Wheelchair Rugby Classification: 0.5