Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Aussie sailors charter course and cruise to gold

Joint Media Release with:


    Minister for Sport
    Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation


    Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
    Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, Minister for Sport Kate Lundy and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas today congratulated skipper Daniel Fitzgibbon and sailor Liesl Tesch on winning gold in the two-person keelboat SKUD18 competition.

The sailors delivered an impressive performance at Weymouth extending their lead over the course of the competition to secure gold and enter the final race in an unbeatable position.

The Australian pair comfortably sailed to victory in the final, collecting their medal and Australia’s first Paralympic sailing gold since the Sydney Games in 2000.

The duo have been paired together since January 2011 and have been plotting a course to win gold ever since.

Daniel approached Liesl, a former wheelchair basketball champion, to make the switch to sailing and since then the unlikely pair have gone on to achieve great success in elite sailing competitions.

As a six-time Paralympian and veteran of the Games, Liesl’s win in the sailing means she has finally realised her dream of winning gold. She now has the full set with one silver and two bronze medals in wheelchair basketball.

For Daniel winning gold has been the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to the sport he loves. After a sailing accident left him a quadriplegic, Daniel continued to sail and claimed silver in the same event in Beijing with former partner Rachael Cox. Now with his gold medal win on the Paralympic stage he has reached the pinnacle of success in his sport.

The Gillard Government is working towards a future where all Australian children and adults with disability lead lives of dignity and opportunity.

We are providing $1 billion to deliver the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to provide Australians with a disability the care and support they need, when they need it.

The Australian Government has also provided strong funding to support our Paralympic Team, committing over $13.7 million in 2011-12 for the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and $2.7 million in Direct Athlete Support (DAS) to help Australia’s Paralympic athletes reach their potential.