Daniel Michel to be the first Australian boccia Paralympic competitor since 2000

Daniel Michel World Championships 2016

Via Inside the Games

Daniel Michel is set to become the first Australian to compete in boccia at the Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000 after being selected for Rio 2016.

The 21-year-old from Sydney earned a place in Brazil after finishing sixth in the BC3 category at this year’s World Individual Championships in Beijing.

“The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) is incredibly proud of Daniel and the high performance boccia program we manage,” Australia’s Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said.

“To have a boccia athlete like Dan earn the right to represent Australia at the Paralympics for the first time since Sydney 2000 is a testament to the hard work the APC and our partners have put into developing the national programme over the past four years.”

Michel was born with spinal muscular atrophy type two, a motor neuron disorder which leaves him requiring assistance for everyday activities.

“Daniel has shown immense commitment and determination in reaching this point, and has proved himself to be a true leader for up-and-coming athletes with more severe disabilities,” said McLoughlin.

“He has been training exceptionally hard, and I’m looking forward to not only seeing him put this truly unique Paralympic sport into the spotlight in Australia, but for this to ensure a brighter future for the sport.”

Australia were represented by three men and three women at Sydney 2000 but none of them won a medal.

Daniel Michel, seen here competing at the BisFed World Championships, is set to become the first Australian to compete in boccia at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro since Sydney 2000 ©BisFed
Daniel Michel, seen here competing at the BisFed World Championships, is set to become the first Australian to compete in boccia at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro since Sydney 2000 ©BisFed
“I’m really excited to be selected,” said Michel.

It feels like a really good reward for the effort I’ve put in this qualification period.

“Being the first person to represent Australia at a Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000 is a massive honour.

“I’m really proud to have that title and to be doing that for my country.

“I’m hoping it’s going to have a huge impact on the sport and on the reputation and perception of people with severe disabilities.

“The overriding public perception surrounding severe disabilities is that people living with these disabilities aren’t really capable of succeeding in a sporting atmosphere.

“There’s an emphasis on being successful through academia, but sport is never really promoted as an avenue through which people with severe physical disabilities can achieve enjoyment and also success.

“I think when people see boccia at the Paralympics and see all these athletes competing with severe disabilities; it’s going to really widen their ideas of what people with disabilities are capable of doing. It’s going to help shift those perceptions.

“I think it’s going to go a long way in opening the eyes of people living with disabilities, and it’s going to show them the opportunities they have to play and compete in a sport.”

The winner of the Paralympic gold medal in the BC3 class at London 2012 was South Korea’s Ye-lin Choi, who beat team-mate Ho-Won Jeong in the final.

Via Inside the Games

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: