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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