International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
Font Size: A A A A
International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

One Year To Go countdown provides beacon of light to Oceania athletes

Today marks exactly one year to go until Oceania’s Paralympic athletes take to the world stage at the Tokyo Paralympic Games - a Games that is set to be the most challenging and unique yet.

With a projected contingent of 20+ athletes from seven countries, the representation of Oceania athletes at the Paralympic Games is expected to be the largest ever, and those selected will have the privilege and responsibility of representing their countries. 

“The Paralympic Games is a unique opportunity to inspire our local communities through the talents of our Para-athletes, none more so than in our developing countries of the Oceania region,” said OPC President Paul Bird. 

“Given the challenges faced by everyone, the milestone today provides a beacon of light and hope for all our Oceania athletes, who can now refocus their preparations on showcasing the power that sport has to uplift and encourage people in these difficult times.”

While Covid-19 and the subsequent delay of the Paralympic Games has brought on challenges globally, it has had a particularly detrimental effect to the communities in the Oceania region. 

“The key challenges from an administration point of view have been access to International competition and classification, as well as the appropriate visas required to enter the host countries,” Bird said.

“Both these key components are unavailable within their home countries, meaning to attempt to be classified and then attend a sanctioned event, athletes must travel overseas. This requires intense resourcing that our developing countries do not have the capacity to source, so they are reliant on external support to qualify and represent their National Paralympic Committee.

“Then you bring in Covid-19. Most of our countries are in lockdown or have been ravaged by unemployment and massive budget cuts as a result of the collapse of tourism. 

“This means putting food on the table becomes the priority at the detriment resourcing training and competition.”

Despite the hardships faced by each community, Bird is impressed by the collaborative efforts of the Oceania nations, and the tenacity shown by athletes. 

“It has been a difficult time in recent months to stay focussed, but with the end now in sight, plans back in place and into countdown mode, the excitement will now build within our communities,” he said.

“If I just focus on the seven developing countries in the Oceania region, all seven countries have achieved classification of a number of athletes in the sports of Para-athletics and Para-taekwondo, with a number of direct qualifications through outstanding performances throughout the last year.

“With the extra year, we are certain that this will enable some of our fringe athletes to also qualify.”

History also shows that in our developing NPCs, that the opportunity to represent their country at a Paralympic Games and then have success is life changing, he said.

“It can mean recognition within their communities, employment and more importantly, raising the profile of disability within their countries. 

“For some athletes, it will also be the first time to travel internationally and will open their eyes to something they never dreamed possible.”

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place from 24 August - 5 September 2021.

Worldwide Partners






International Partner