The NZ Wheelchair Rugby Association is thankful for NZCT's grant of $10,000. Partly due to this gift, the NZ Wheelchair Rugby Association could host the 2017 Asia Oceania Wheelchair Rugby Championship in New Zealand late August.
Joann O’Callaghan is Sports Administrator at the NZ Wheelchair Rugby Association. “In December we heard that the Asia Oceania Wheelchair Rugby Championship was at risk. There was no country to host it yet. The timeline was tight, but New Zealand decided to submit a bid to the International Federation to fill this gap. Thanks to NZCT’s support we could minimise the costs for travel and accommodation.”
The 2017 Asia Oceania Wheelchair Rugby Championship took place in Auckland late August. Joann looks back at a successful event. “We welcomed 97 athletes and staff from New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. We transported more than 35 wheelchair users to and from the venue each day. Accommodation venues were limited, but luckily we found a hotel that could increase their accessibility to accommodate the wheelchair users and staff.”
Joann says hosting the 2017 Asia Oceania Wheelchair Rugby Championship raised the profile of wheelchair rugby. “Many people watched the tournament on television and Facebook. This means greater awareness of a sport available to disabled people. We also received feedback from people who want to donate to wheelchair rugby. Besides that, we expect to get more youth interested in participating and volunteering in our sport.”
“As a national body we are very aware of every cent we spend. We check how it contributes at the time and how it contributes to the sport's future. We need to be in the best position to offer quality sport opportunities and experiences from grassroots to high performance. That's our responsibility to all athletes in New Zealand. NZCT’s grant supported not only the event. It also allowed us to raise the profile of our sport in New Zealand which is key to growth and development.”