Vanuatu Paralympic Committee Aims for London 2012
With just over 400 days remaining until the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee (VPC) has high hopes of seeing Vanuatu athletes with disabilities competing.
“We’ve been working hard on the development of Paralympic Sports in Vanuatu over the last 12 months. To see Vanuatu athletes with disabilities competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the highest level of sporting competition for athletes with a disability, is the ultimate aim,” says Andrew Bynon, Management Support Officer at the VPC.
In the last 12 months the VPC has focused on the provision of two Paralympic sports in Vanuatu; wheelchair tennis and athletics. Within these sports in the last year the VPC has:
- organised specialist training for coaching staff;
- provided training and competitions in athletics and tennis in Port Vila and SANMA Province
- initiated development squads for potential elite athletes in the sports of athletics and wheelchair tennis; and
- provided opportunities for elite athletes with a disability to compete in international competitions such as the Victorian Wheelchair Tennis Open and the Oceania Paralympic Championships.
These programs have seen a number of promising athletes with disabilities identified.
In athletics Andrew Aru and Marcel Houssimoli represented Vanuatu at the 2011 Oceania Paralympic Championships held with the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia. Their results from these games place them in the Top 50 of the world in the 100m, 200m and 400m in the London 2012 Qualification Period.
In wheelchair tennis Rodney Ben and Tom Tete were part of the 2010 Wheelchair Tennis Development Squad. As part of this squad they competed in the 2010 Victorian Wheelchair Tennis Open when Ben made the semi-finals and Tete the quarter finals of the consolation draw.
The lead up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games promises to be an exciting time for these athletes. In both wheelchair tennis and athletics, the athletes will have to continue to compete in IPC Sanctioned Competitions. Opportunities to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games finish in May 2012.
“We’ve been fortunate over the last year to have the support of the Vanuatu Ministry of Youth Development Sports and Training, the Oceania Paralympic Committee, the Australian Sports Commission, Pacific Petroleum, VUI and Bred Bank to make our programs successful,” said Mr Bynon.
“But to continue to develop we need ongoing support from government, international donors and the Vanuatu business community. I am confident that our programs will continue to attract this support as we build up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.”