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Christchurch City to host 2006 World Wheelchair Rugby champs

15 April 2005

Christchurch City Council welcomes the announcement that the city will host the 4th World Championships of Wheelchair Rugby in September next year (2006).

Parafed Canterbury, with support from the City Council, bid for this event, which will include the world’s top 12 teams. The New Zealand team, the Wheel Blacks, won the gold medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, and so will go into the event as top seed.

Ken Sowden, president of the organising committee and Oceania Zone President for Wheelchair Rugby, says next year’s championships will showcase the world’s most competitive and visual sport for people with disabilities.

“Canterbury’s the strongest region in New Zealand for the sport and with the Wheel Blacks being number one in the world the Christchurch public will be able to see some amazing clashes and some spectacular athletes,” Mr Sowden says.

The seven days of competition will be held at Westpac Stadium. New Zealand has attended every world championships since the first one in Switzerland in 1995. The team’s record is third in 1995, second in Canada in 1998 and sixth in Sweden in 2002.

Lesley Symington, the City Council’s Community and Recreation Manager, says such international events bring numerous visitors and athletes to the city and underlines Christchurch’s reputation as a sports destination.

“We look forward to going along to the World Championships in September 2006 to support the Wheel Blacks as they compete to add this title to their gold medal,” she says.

● For more information about Christchurch as a sports event destination, how the City Council can assist and about other upcoming sports events

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