A sport that has boomed in popularity around the world is giving Australians living with disabilities a new way of life – this is Powerchair Football. Before the global pandemic hit, the Western Australian 2020 season was scheduled to start in February, which was unfortunately (out of necessity) cancelled.
Before we look to the future of the sport, we thought we’d take a look at The Western Australian Powerchair Football Association and how it changes the lives of those involved…
The Association is run by volunteers and its members, who previously held sessions of wheelchair indoor soccer twice a week at Perth’s Loftus Recreation Centre. Their mantra is all about inclusivity, and their website – wapfa.org.au – highlights this:
“We cater for all ages, genders and disabilities.”
This approach alone creates a sense of belonging for players and their families into a team sport that isn’t immediately associated with disability. Powerchair Football doesn’t just exist in WA though, the love for the sport spans the globe…
Take a look at this video from Football NSW featuring then 26 year old Abdullah Karim “World’s Best Powerchair Player” – it gives a great insight into what the sport means to competitors and just how far the positivity that comes from it reaches …
As you can see, just like the sport’s able bodied counterpart, there is a World Cup for serious players to strive for, but the focus isn’t all about winning and playing at that level… The Western Australian Powerchair Football Association announced early this year a partnership with local National Premiere League Clubs that are both successful and historic in their own right, giving the sport of Powerchair Football the chance to be seen by many more eyes and opening the game up to more and more players on a local level.
The best bit is though, is that there are Powerchair Football clubs around the country and even an Australian Association who’s mission statement reads:
“The Australian Powerchair Football Association Inc.’s mission is to provide access to the team sport of Powerchair football, a sport for people in wheelchairs. Powerchair football is action packed, fast, safe and fun to play and exhibits an exciting mix of skill and ability displayed by those participating.
In providing this access, we allow athletes the opportunity to take their sport to higher levels of competition from local events to regional, state, national and international events.
Strive. Dream. Persevere.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the sport for yourself or someone you care for, head to the APFA website: http://www.apfa.org.au/
You’ll find links to state-based associations that can put you in touch with your local club.
Team sport is for everyone and having a choice of which sport you participate in, whether you have a disability or not, is a rite of passage for all Australians.
We’ll be keeping a keen eye on the sport returning to play and we encourage you to do the same.
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