INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED WHEELCHAIR ATHLETES COMPETE IN WORLD RENOWNED ROAD RACE
Wheelchair Sports NSW is pleased to announce the 30th Annual International 2019 GIO Summer Down Under Series will be returning to Canberra and Sydney this January. Decorated Paralympians and acclaimed wheelchair athletes from across the globe will settle scores and defend titles during the meet and its finale – the iconic GIO Oz Day 10K on Australia Day.
The face of Australian wheelchair racing and Australian of the year nominee, Kurt Fearnley OAM, will return to the GIO Oz Day 10K course in The Rocks looking to reclaim the title he last held in 2017, in the road race that started his racing career at the age of 14. It will be a close race as Tomoki Suzuki (JPN) returns to defend his 2018 win.
2018 female winner Madison de Rozario may also face a tough race, going for her fifth victory, with competition from Eliza Ault-Connell be returning this year after a puncture knocked her out of the race in 2018. She’ll have something to prove as she recently beat Madison (6th) with a 4th place in the New York Marathon. Jessica Frotten (CAN) who placed 3rd in the 2018 Oz Day 10K women’s race will also return in 2019.
Several free events are open to the public from 19th January, offering opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with the participants and look at the immense skill, strength and determination of these incredible athletes.
The first race in the GIO Summer Down Under Series takes place days after international athletes touch down in Canberra and head to the renowned Australian Institute of Sport track for an extended three days of racing and mentor clinics. The AIS will be open to the public for free to experience the excitement of some of the world’s best wheelchair racers on Sunday 20th, Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd 2019 from 5:30pm.
On Thursday 24th January, athletes will attempt to reach their fastest speed at the twilight Sydney Skins Track Meet held at Blacktown International Sportspark Athletics Centre from 5:00pm. Open to the public, this intense training session offers a rare glimpse into Paralympic coaching methods and the dedication of these athletes.
The GIO Summer Down Under Series reaches its pivotal race on Australia Day at the 30th annual GIO Oz Day 10K. After days of intense track competition, athletes face an international stage as they take on the 10-kilometre track stretching from The Rocks around to Barangaroo and back – athletes will be looking to set new records on this now 3 lap course.
Taking off at 9am outside the Museum of Contemporary Art on George St, men’s, women’s and junior road racing champions from Japan, Australia, UK, South Korea, Germany, Canada and more will battle the hills and winding streets around The Rocks. Open to the public and free to attend, the GIO Oz Day 10K will also host a free a breakfast from 8am beneath the Cahill Expressway.
CEO of Wheelchair Sports NSW, Jim O’Brien, said this year’s competition will be incredibly interesting, with first time Oz Day racers taking to the track and some now renowned juniors joining the adult racing.
“We’re so proud that we are entering into the 30th year of this amazing event. It has been truly humbling to watch the event grow over the years and to see a host of young athletes find their confidence with us and go on to compete around the world and for their country.
“The GIO Oz Day 10K is not only a significant international event for Wheelchair Sports NSW, but draws international attention to our incredible athletes and world-class training facilities. The Summer Down Under Series also provides a unique platform for young racers to be mentored by elite athletes and be given the opportunity to train and race with them.”
The GIO Summer Down Under Series is the highest profile annual wheelchair-sporting event in Australia, attracting leading international and Australian wheelchair track and road racers.
The GIO Summer Down Under series takes place from Friday 18th – Sunday 27th January 2019 and includes the following free events:
- Canberra International Track Meet (Sunday 20 – Tuesday 22 January 2019) – 3 evenings of racing at the Australian Institute of Sport Track (incorporating a Junior and Developing athlete Mentor Clinic on the final day)
- Sydney Twilight Track Meet (Thursday 24 January) – Twilight racing at Blacktown International Sportspark Athletics Centre (incorporating a Junior and Developing athlete Mentor Clinic)
- GIO Oz Day 10K (Saturday 26 January) – Road racing through Sydney’s The Rocks on Australia Day. Broadcast LIVE on Sky news.
For more information visit the Summer Down Under page
Follow updates and results on the Summer Down Under page or on the WS NSW Facebook page