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

Bird Awarded Paralympic Honour

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Paralympic Order, the highest accolade anyone connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve, is to be awarded to four people who have served the Movement with distinction.  The recipients are:

Paul Bird, Australia - Paralympian and administrator with 40 years’ experience. President of Oceania Paralympic Committee since 2006.

Rita van Driel, Netherlands – Coach and administrator. IPC Governing Board Member at Large since 2009.

Greg Nugent, Great Britain – London 2012 Paralympic Games marketer and filmmaker behind the Paralympic documentary Rising Phoenix.

Yasushi Yamawaki, Japan - Vice President, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. IPC Governing Board Member at Large since 2013.

The Paralympic Order honours someone who has exemplified the Paralympic ideals through their actions, made remarkable strides in Paralympic sport or rendered outstanding services the Paralympic cause.

The Orders were announced on Saturday 11 December at the 2021 IPC General Assembly, which took place virtually this weekend. The Orders will be presented to each of the recipients at the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering.

Paul Bird has been at the front line of the Paralympic Movement for over forty years. He represented Australia in swimming and athletics in the 1980 and 1984 Paralympic Games winning gold and silver medals. Off the field he has also excelled as an administrator, as Australian Team Chef de Mission or Deputy Chef de Mission at five Paralympic Games, a Paralympics Australia Board Member (1993-2014) and as President of Oceania Paralympic Committee, a role he has served in for the last 15 years.

In this position Paul has worked tirelessly with NPCs across the Oceania region to improve their governance and has provided mentoring support to numerous NPC Presidents. He has worked with IPC and governments to increase investments that support the capability and capacity of the NPCs through the promotion of inclusive practices.

Paul has made it his mission to create more opportunities for Para athletes across the region and to provide a voice and pathways for people who can often be hidden from public view. In recognition for his contribution to the development of Para sport in Australia, he was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) in 2002.

"I am extremely honoured to be considered a worthy recipient of this prestigious award from the International Paralympic Committee. This journey commenced for me over 40 years ago as my rehabilitation, but my disability quickly become my ability to connect, challenge and lead change.

“We are a community that is made up of numerous outstanding individuals who have dedicated their lives to advocate for social inclusion and to provide hope, opportunity and a pathway for our disadvantaged through sport, so to be considered as worthy to join this prestigious group of recipients of the Paralympic Order is quite humbling.”

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “With the Paralympic Order this year we pay homage to four people who the Paralympic Movement is indebted to. Paul Bird and Rita van Driel are both educationists, and their tireless volunteering work has ensured that thousands of Para athletes have had opportunities to excel in sport, while the impact of their technical expertise will be felt for generations to come.

“Thanks to his work on London 2012 and with the amazing Rising Phoenix, Greg Nugent took the Paralympic Movement and our athletes to invaluable new audiences. And Yasushi Yamawaki’s adept negotiation skills helped ensure that the most important Paralympic Games in history took place when many doubted it was possible.

“The Paralympic Order is reserved for those who have gone above and beyond for the Paralympic Movement, and these four individuals have certainly done that.”

By IPC Media

Posted: 13/12/2021

Worldwide Partners






International Partner