By David Gold

ryley batt_14-05-12May 14 - The team who will attempt to win Australia's first ever wheelchair rugby Paralympic gold medal has been announced by the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

The 11-man squad is headed by Ryley Batt (pictured above), Australia's powerful forward upon whom their hopes will rest.

Ryan Scott will captain the side, which includes six Paralympic debutants.

Australia were second in Beijing four years' ago, finishing runners up to the United States, who also beat them in the 2010 World Championship.

They recently won the wheelchair rugby test event in London, though the US were not present at that event.

"The Australian wheelchair rugby team has sat just behind the USA for a number of years now and it's time things changed," said Jason Hellwig, APC chief executive and the Paralympic team's Chef de Mission this summer.

"The Australian wheelchair rugby programme is managed by the APC and we have really focused on bringing our national team up to the level needed to win the gold medal in London.

"Wheelchair rugby will certainly be one of the sports not to be missed at the Games and I'm confident Australia can go all the way.

"While some athletes have plenty of Games experience like Greg Smith, Nazim Erdem (pictured below, left) and Ryan Scott, others are fresh-faced and chomping at the bit to get to London.

"It makes for an explosive and dynamic team."

Canadas Fabien_Lavoie_C_carries_the_ball_flanked_by_Australias_Nazim_Erdem_L_and_Ryley_Batt_R_14-05-12
Batt (pictured above, right) will be competing at his third Paralympics at the age of just 22, and said:  "After playing for a decade I still get nervous.

"I'm pretty excited but we're still not there yet.

"We still have work to do before the Games so at the moment I'm just sitting back watching the younger guys get excited about it.

"It's going to be an amazing experience.

"We have set our sights very high.

"But we can't afford to look too far ahead; the competition is going to be extremely tough.

"First of all we have to get through to the final, we have got a pretty tough pool with Canada in our group.

"We want to get through the pool as number one so that makes the semi-final easier for us.

"Hopefully we can get through to the gold medal game where we're likely to face the US once again.

"That would be awesome."

Batt, Scott, Smith and Erdem are joined by fellow Beijing 2008 silver medallist Cameron Carr and debutants Jason Lees, Andrew Harrison, Cody Meakin, Josh Hose, Ben Newton and Chris Bond.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
April 2012: GB's Phipps impresses but Batt and Bond take Australia to International Invitational Wheelchair Rugby victory