The Australian wheelchair rugby team have been presented with their jerseys for the 2018 International Wheelchair Rugby Federation’s Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, due to start at the Sydney Olympic Park Complex on Sunday (August 5) and run until August 10.
Preparing to defend their title and become the first nation to secure the championship on home soil, the 11-strong Steelers line-up were congratulated on their achievements so far by Australian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Lynne Anderson.
Anderson looked on as Australian captain and four-time Paralympian Ryley Batt presented the jerseys to each of his team-mates.
"The Australian Paralympic Committee is immensely proud of the Australian Steelers and the role we play in managing the Australian wheelchair rugby high performance programme, and I’d like to congratulate each athlete for their efforts in getting to this point," Anderson said.
"It’s so wonderful to be part of this occasion and to watch the athletes all earn the honour that so many people dream about - wearing the Green and Gold of Australia.
"Each athlete has done the work required, made sacrifices and now, it’s about seizing the opportunity.
"On behalf of everyone at the Australian Paralympic Committee, we’d like to wish the Australian Steelers the very best of luck and we’d also like thank long time APC supporter and the Australian Steelers major partner Allianz Australia for their ongoing support."
"I remember watching the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and after watching it, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of," the Steelers’ most experienced athlete Ryan Scott, who will be taking part in his fifth World Championship, said.
"I remember going home and quitting school and thought, ‘I want to be a wheelchair rugby player’.
"It’s taken 18 years to finally get a home major event and it’s just so exciting."
And for Perth local Jake Howe who will don the green and gold for the very first time at a major event, the occasion left him at a loss for words.
"It’s a pretty surreal feeling but now I’m ready to hit the court," he said.
"You can’t really put it into words what it means to be representing Australia.
"It’s just one of those things I didn’t think would ever happen and now it’s come along and it feels really good."