National Electric Wheelchair Sports
A number of electric wheelchair sports groups have been established across Australia, for people who have muscular dystrophy, or another related neuromuscular condition, and who use electric wheelchairs for daily mobility. A range of sports are played including soccer, hockey and rugby league. The sports have been adapted to suit the manoeuvrability of an electric wheelchair, making each a fast paced game that requires skills and strategy.
Local competitions are held, commonly at PCYCs and similar sporting venues, and players are selected from these teams to play at State level in the annual National Electrical Wheelchair Sports tournament (NEWS), held at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, in Narrabeen.
NEWS was first held in Victoria in 1986 and was the brainchild of the late Roger Melnyk, who had muscular dystrophy and saw the need for a national competition. Held over one week, the tournament includes electric wheelchair soccer, hockey and rugby league. A day is dedicated to each of the sports which are played in round robin format to select the finalists. Old rivalries and fierce competition making the finals in particular a nail biting, captivating experience for players and spectators alike.
NEWS is much more than a sporting event. The players have the opportunity to connect with peers and make long lasting friendships. It is also a fantastic opportunity to take a break from everyday routines. For parents and carers, knowing there are others around who understand the needs of their loved one and who are willing to jump in and offer assistance when needed provides a rare opportunity the relax.
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The National Electric Wheelchair Sports (NEWS) competition was held at the Sydney Academy of Sport from 16th to 23rd April. This was the 32nd NEWS games.
The four interstate rivals – Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales – played each other in the sports of Balloon Soccer, Hockey and Rugby League. Queensland were unable to attend this year.
The much coveted Roger Melnyk trophy was won by South Australia for being the best all round team for the week. They last won this trophy in 1992. Congratulations to them, they were very popular winners.
South Australia also won one of the three Grand Finals, being Balloon Soccer with Victoria winning the Hockey Grand Final and New South Wales winning the Rugby League Grand Final.
The New South Wales team has not been beaten in nine years at this competition in Rugby League.
Congratulations to the New South Wales Team of James Kim (Co-Captain) Andrew Kim (Co-Captain) Jordan Crane, Nicholas Nguyen, Jye Mokluk and Alex Scollard with the team being coached by Peter Dalrymple and Ben Keyte.
Any person with a neuro muscular condition who uses an electric wheelchair for everyday use can try out for the New South Wales team. We have training sessions from November to March. Please contact Ben Keyte on 0403611598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending the next come and try day.
Check out this promo video featuring NSW Strikers. Please like and share this video to reach more potential players!
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