Greg Hartung, APC President and Darren Peters, APC Chief Executive, travelled to the UK last week to meet with the organising committee for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, as well as visiting potential training venues for the Australian Paralympic team ahead of the Games in London in five years time. The pair however also stopped off at the ParalympicsGB headquarters in London to meet with Chief Executive Phil Lane and President Mike Brace.
The group signed an agreement that will see the two organisations working together and sharing information and advice in order to further develop opportunities in Paralympic sport in the run-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The two organisations have agreed to specifically exchange information on marketing and legal issues but will also encourage athlete exchanges between the two nations in order to develop competitive opportunities.
The agreement, which is the first of its kind for either the British or Australian organisations, should mark a close working relationship between the two nations, who have always been rivals on the field of play. Both nations have traditionally been among the top performing nations at the Games and in 2000 Australia topped the medal table at their home Games in Sydney, with GB finishing in second place. GB then reversed these fortunes in Athens in 2004 to finish second behind China, but ahead of Australia in fifth place.
APC President Greg Hartung, said: “This agreement will develop a cooperative relationship between our respective organisations. It’s the first time that we’ve signed such an agreement and we hope that it will be a beneficial to both our nations. We feel that London is going to be major Games for us and therefore to make this agreement now makes perfect sense.
Chief Executive Darren Peters added: “We’re very excited about this, it’s a great opportunity and we all hope that it’s worthwhile.”
ParalympicsGB Chief Executive Phil Lane said: “There are a lot of similarities between the British Paralympic Association and our Australian counterparts and we believe that this partnership will help us to maximise opportunities in Paralympic sport. Australia hosted a successful Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and as we head ever closer to the London 2012 Paralympic Games we hope that we can learn a lot from them