GIO has been named the official title sponsor of the 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship ©IWRF

Disability Sports Australia (DSA) marked 500 days to go until the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) 2018 World Championship with the announcement of a corporate partnership and the appointment of the "Championship patron" at Government House in Sydney.

The 2018 IWRF World Championship will bring 12 of the world's best wheelchair rugby teams to the Sydney Olympic Park complex from August 4 to 10. 

Hosts Australia will be joined by 11 other countries, who are set to compete for places through a regional qualification process.

The IWRF World Championship is held every four years.

GIO, the Australian home and motor insurance provider, has been unveiled as the official naming rights sponsor of the tournament.

"The GIO 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship will be the largest disability sporting event to be held in Australia since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and DSA, the national body representing athletes with a physical disability, is proud to announce the official championship naming rights sponsor GIO," said Jenni Cole, chief executive of DSA.

"This partnership is of international significance.

"It is the first time in the history of the Championship that a naming rights sponsor has been secured.

"We commend GIO for their foresight and commitment to changing lives through sport.

Wheelchair rugby made its debut on the Paralympic Games programme at Sydney in 2000, when the United States beat Australia 32-31 in the final. 

David Hurley, the Governor of New South Wales, has been named as the tournament's patron ©Getty Images
David Hurley, the Governor of New South Wales, has been named as the tournament's patron ©Getty Images

Australia won their first Paralympic title at London 2012, beating Canada 66-51 in the final. 

They consolidated their position as the sport's top side when they won the previous edition of the World Championships in Odense in Denmark in 2014.

They again beat Canada, 67-56, before adding the Rio 2016 Paralympic title with a 59-58 win over the US.

David Hurley, the Governor of New South Wales and a former senior officer in the Australian Army, has been named as the tournament's patron and said the opportunities wheelchair rugby provides to injured servicemen and women are "inspiring".

"I am honoured to be appointed patron of the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championship," said Hurley.

"Seeing the joy that this very physical sport offers to our veterans whose injuries through service to their nation resulted in them requiring the use of a wheelchair is inspiring.

"As patron, I am looking forward to fast and furious games of strength, skill and speed, as the 11 international teams battle it out against our champion Australian Steelers.

"I welcome the world to play in our city of Sydney, whose Paralympics brought wheelchair rugby to the world."

Previous hosts of the tournament include Nottwil in Switzerland in 1995, Toronto in Canada in 1998, Gothenburg in Sweden in 2002, Christchurch in New Zealand in 2006 and Vancouver in Canada in 2010.