Federal Sports Minister Sussan Ley has congratulated Australia’s Paralympic team on its performance at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, following the squad’s return home to Australia this morning.   

“It’s incredible to think that for the sixth consecutive Paralympic Games, Australia has collectively achieved a top-five finish on the gold medal tally,” Minister Ley said. 

“These outstanding and consistent results indicate the pride and professional attitudes shown by this team of 177 athletes, but it is also testament to the Paralympic athletes and leaders who have continued to inspire generations over so many years.

“It was exciting to see younger athletes really make their mark on these Games in Rio, like multiple gold medal swimmers Maddison Elliott and Lakeisha Patterson, both just 17 years of age.

“I’m sure these athletes would also credit the athletes and officials who have laid the foundation for success before them, with Australia finishing top-five at every Paralympics Games since Atlanta 1996.

“Team captains Kurt Fearnley and Daniela di Toro and our opening ceremony flag-bearer, Brad Ness, are great examples of those athletes who have raised the athletic standards, recognition and profile of Paralympic sport.

“Paralympic debutant and gold medallist in Rio, Curtis McGrath, had already represented our country so valiantly in the defence force. Curtis was given the honour of leading the team into the closing ceremony and we will watch with interest as our athletes prepare for the next Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

“To the 177 Australian athletes who competed in Rio, we have marvelled at your abilities and you have inspired us all.”

Australia finished with 81 medals in Rio, including 22 gold. Minister Ley also praised the leadership of the Australian Paralympic Committee.

“The Australian Government is a major supporter of our Paralympic team and invests strongly in development via the Australian Sports Commission and AIS.

“I commend the Australian Paralympic Committee and also Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin for her role in bringing together a harmonious and successful team that represented the nation brilliantly.” 

(Photo credit: Australian Paralympic Team)