Home' Navy News : March 15th 2012 Contents DEFENCE TRANSITIONS
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March 15, 2012
AFTER a three-metre bull shark severed
his right leg and hand in a savage attack
in Sydney Harbour in February 2009,
Navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder
feared he would never live a normal life
However, he has marked another vic-
tory in his battle for recovery with anoth-
er gold medal haul at the US Marine
Corps' Paralympic Trials.
The seemingly impossible for ABCD
de Gelder became possible through
the Joint Health Command's ADF
Paralympic Sports Program (ADFPSP)
which has proven instrumental in the
rehabilitation and recovery of wounded
and injured ADF personnel.
ABCD de Gelder won gold in the
50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m
backstroke and silver in the 4 x 50m
open freestyle relay at the trials held at
Camp Pendleton from February 12-23.
"It was an awesome competition,
where we showed our courage, commit-
ment and determination against some
300 other competitors," he said.
ABCD de Gelder was one of seven
injured or wounded ADF personnel
to compete at the trials as part of the
ADF Paralympic Sports Association's
(ADFPSA) adaptive sports program.
Overall, the seven competitors won
14 gold, three silver and two bronze
The Australian team included ampu-
tees, a double amputee, members who
have experienced traumatic brain injury
and other service-related injuries.
The competition was organised by
the US Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior
Regiment and included military person-
nel from eight countries.
It was ABCD de Gelder's second
appearance at the trials after compet-
ing last year when he won gold in the
50m and 100m freestyle events, the 50m
backstroke and the team relay.
ABCD de Gelder, who is posted
Diver adds to gold tally
What is ADFPSA
The ADF Paralympic Sports
Association is a registered sport-
ing association sponsored by the
Australian Defence Sports Council.
The Council also coordinates ADF
participation in the biennial Arafura
Games in Darwin. The ADFPSA
is open to wounded, injured or ill
Defence personnel who are unable
to participate in normal sporting
activities. To become a member of
the ADFPSA you must be serving
with the ADF or be a member of the
reserve. Affiliated membership is
available to any Defence employee.
More information is available from
ADFPSA Vice President WO1 Scott
Mengel at scott.mengel@defence.
to the RAN Diving School at HMAS
Penguin said sport had played a critical
role in his rehabilitation and recovery
"Sport keeps us fit, healthy and moti-
vated, which is an important part of our
recovery," he said.
He said the camaraderie among the
other wounded warriors who competed
"The lesson we all shared was don't
give up on what you enjoy doing just
because of an injury or a wound, because
there are people and organisations out
there that will support you," he said.
Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon welcomed
home the athletes at Sydney Airport, say-
ing "the ADF participants have brought
great pride to Australia and their respec-
tive services with their sporting achieve-
"This competition is about overcom-
ing adversity, and the ADF team has
worked hard, shown determination and
in many events, has come out on top,"
TOUCH footballers were hoping
to cook up a storm on and off the
field as they competed in the 2012
National Touch League in Port
Macquarie from March 8-11.
Of the 116 ADF personnel
involved in the Australian Defence
Touch Association's (ADTA)
national titles campaign, three were
Tour organiser Sgt Jeremy
Armstrong said this was nothing
new. "We have been taking cooks
for about five years now," he said.
"It makes perfect sense and I
have suggested to a few of the other
sports associations that they should
include them on their tours also.
"Before taking cooks it used to
be the team manager's job to cook
and we have some young managers
who don't even know how to cook for
themselves, let alone 16 other people.
"This way we can ensure the
players get the right sustenance at
the right time."
Six ADTA teams were among
the 123 teams competing in 14 divi-
sions in one of the biggest touch
carnivals ever held in NSW.
ADTA fielded teams in the
Women's Open, Men's Open, Men's
30s, Men's 40s, Men's 45s and sen-
ior mixed divisions.
Seven referees, four referee
coaches, three medical/physio rep-
resentatives and three officials were
part of the contingent.
With a change in funding
arrangements through the Australian
Defence Sports Council, ADTA has
this year been able to identify and
take the players it wanted to take.
"In the past it's been a case of
whoever could afford to pay for
themselves went rather than the best
players going," Sgt Armstrong said.
"Hopefully some of our players
will impress selectors enough to
be named in Australian squads in a
couple of months time."
Sgt Armstrong said next year
the ADTA would also look to take
a couple of teams to New Zealand
"The ADSC encouraged the
association to look beyond our
shores and the Kiwis come here
every second year and compete in
the nationals so it would be good to
go over there.
A full wrap of the carnival will
appear in the next edition of Navy
For more information on touch football,
Funding a recipe for
success at nationals
TRY TIME: Touch footballers are
competing in the National Touch
League in Port Macquarie.
ON TARGET: ABCD Paul de Gelder tries out seated shooting at the US Marine Corps Paralympic Trials
where he won three gold medals in the swimming pool.
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