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30 April 2007, 12:19 pm
2007 Australian Paralympic Sailing Team Launched
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Disabled Sailing News

Yachting Australia announced the 2007 Paralympic Sailing Team during their inaugural training camp in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney over the weekend. The six member team will be lead by Head Coach Greg OMAY and consists of Jamie DUNROSS, Graeme MARTIN, Barry ASTWOOD and Colin HARRISON in the Sonar class, whilst Aaron HILL and Peter THOMPSON will compete in the 2.4 Metre class.
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HARRISON, aged 46, started sailing as a teenager in Aberdaron, North Wales, Great Britain. He developed his passion for sailing on Fireballs and 505s, however in 1988 cancer in his shoulder lead to a forequarter amputation of his right arm. In 2002, Sailability WA, based out of Royal Perth Yacht Club invited HARRISON to sail and he has never looked back. HARRISON has competed at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, where he came fifth, and placed fourth at the 2006 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships. His major aims are to medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games and the 2007 IFDS World Championships in Rochester, USA in September.

The Team

ASTWOOD acquired Polio at a young age and always found it difficult to be involved in sport. He started sailing on the sonar class with HARRISON through Sailability WA where he finally found his passion. He said, 'For the first time in my life I had found a sport I could do and enjoy which involved the outdoors, the sea and silence'. The 55 year old New Zealand born Perth resident has gone onto represent Australia at the 2006 IFDS World Championships (eighth) and is now focussing on winning a medal at this year's event as well as the 2008 Paralympic Games.

THOMPSON, aged 56, first represented Australia in 1998 at the World Championships and has competed at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games (fourth), Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (fifth), 2003 IFDS World Championships (second) and the 2004 World Open Championships (eighth). THOMPSON started sailing as a teenager with friends and became a Paraplegic due to a car accident. He's main aims over the next year are to enjoy sailing and run his farm in the ACT.

Sydney Gold Medallists

DUNROSS is a Sydney 2000 Paralympic Gold medallist and competed at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games (fifth) as skipper in the Sonar class. The 41 year old sailor has also had success at world, state and national titles. Apart from aiming to achieve Paralympic success in 2008, DUNROSS is hoping to complete a solo circumnavigation of the globe.

MARTIN was part of the gold medal crew at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games along with the DUNROSS. He will join the Australian Paralympic Team in the Sonar class.

HILL is the youngest member of the team at 23 years of age. He has competed at the 2003 IFDS World Championships (tenth) as well as top placings at state and national titles. HILL is an above the knee amputee due to cancer, however he was bound to become a sailor as his father ran the local junior sailing club. In the next year he aims to win a medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games and become a first time dad.

Head Coach, OMAY brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. He has been sailing for over 40 years and coaching for the last eight years. Based in WA, OMAY has been involved in many areas of Yachting WA ranging from the Junior Development Programme, State Development Squad and is currently coaching the High Performance Coaching Scholarship holders from the Department of Sport and Recreation WA. In 2006, he was the Head Coach of the Yachting Australia Team at the IFDS World Championships in WA and the FESPIC Games in Malaysia.

Exciting Time

OMAY commented on the 2007 Paralympic Team, '2007 to 2008 is an exciting time for the sailors with selection for classes on the line at the 2007 IFDS World Championships in Rochester, USA in September'.

He continued, 'Our approach has been to broaden the talent pool within the Paralympic Sailing Development Squad [PSDS] and for current sailors competing for spots within existing teams'.

The next major event for the team will be the 2007 IFDS World Championships in Rochester USA from 7-15 September.

The 2008 Paralympic Sailing Team will be selected by the Australian Paralympic Committee in mid-2008.

For all the news on Disabled Sailing CLICK HERE.

Lara Watts (As Amended By ISAF), Image, Peter THOMPSON in Athens:© ISAF
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