Welcome home to our Aussie Paralympic heroes
The largest ever Australian Paralympic Team to compete abroad returned to our shores today with 79 medals, including 23 gold.
Minister for Sport and Youth, Kate Ellis, and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten today welcomed our Paralympians home from Beijing.
“Australia can be proud of our Teams’ achievements, their sportsmanship and sheer drive to compete, the results demonstrate yet again that Australia can match it with the best on the world’s biggest sporting stages,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Australian Team finished fifth in the gold medal count – an amazing result given the tough competition against China, the USA and the UK.”
Mr Shorten, who attend the last week of the Paralympic Games, also commended the dedicated families and friends and 600 strong supporters who made the journey.
“I feel privileged to have seen our Australian athletes compete and it was an absolute honour to meet and cheer with the athletes’ families and friends,” Mr Shorten said.
“At every event Aussies were vocal in the crowd and the Australian flag hung proudly – making the atmosphere electric.”
Minister Ellis was in Beijing for the first week of the Games and congratulated the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and their dedicated team for all of their hard work and support for the athletes during the Games.
“The Australian Government provided more than $26 million to the APC and it was worth every cent,” Ms Ellis said.
“Every Australian athlete had access to top class support, and this is a real credit to the APC.”
Ms Ellis said that the Australian Government would continue to work with the APC in the lead up to the London Paralympic Games in 2012.
“This Government is a proud and strong supporter of the team and we look forward to continuing to support the APC and Paralympic sport in Australia.”
Ms Ellis and Mr Shorten encouraged more Australian businesses to join the Government in supporting our athletes as they prepare for London in 2012.