Swift start to Australia’s Winter Paralympics campaign
The Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, has congratulated Cameron Rahles-Rahbula on taking out the bronze medal for standing slalom at the Vancouver Winter Paralympics today.
“Cameron’s hard work and determination is an inspiration to us all. We’re so proud of what he’s achieved today,” Ms Ellis said.
“An above-the-knee amputee, Cameron has dedicated himself to alpine skiing and risen to the highest peaks of the sport since taking it up in the late nineties,” she said.
This is the third Paralympics for the 26-year-old physiotherapist from Richmond in Victoria. It comes after his gold medal performance at the World Championships in Korea last year.
Cameron started competing in 1999 after attending a ski camp at Mt Buller and just two years later he represented Australia.
“Australia’s campaign at the Vancouver Winter Paralympics is off to a swift start with Cameron joining fellow slalom skier Jessica Gallagher on the medal tally,” Ms Ellis said.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, said Cameron demonstrates the great things people with a disability are achieving.
“Cameron is a great ambassador for people with disability. I hope his success – and that of the whole Australian team – shows everyone that people with disability should be judged by what they can achieve, not by their impairment.
“Australia has sent its biggest ever Winter Paralympics team to Vancouver and that’s a great sign of the growing inclusiveness of elite sport in Australia,” Mr Shorten said.
The Australian Government has supported the Australian Paralympic Committee with $1.8 million for the winter games program since 2006/07.
Eight Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holders are competing at the Vancouver Games, including Cameron Rahles-Rabula.
“Cameron has benefitted from the terrific facilities and coaching at the AIS and today is also a time to thank all those at the AIS who’ve helped Cameron achieve his dream,” Ms Ellis said.
Eleven Australian athletes and three guides are competing at the Vancouver Games. More than 40 countries are participating, with about 1,350 athletes and team officials involved in the ten day event from 12-21 March.