WA Paralympic team improving

Chris Barty in action.
Chris Barty in action.

Barty, of Swanbourne, said WA ended its seven-a-side campaign with two draws and in fifth position but improved on their debut year in 2012.

‘Last year Victoria and South Australia beat us but this year we had a 3-3 draw against SA and lost 3-2 to Victoria,” he said.

‘Queensland was a 0-0 draw which was a huge result for us because they are traditionally one of the strongest teams.

‘We played better footy for longer periods of time this year.’

The team comprises people with a physical disability like cerebral palsy, an acquired brain injury or stroke victims but Chris Minutillo is the first player with an intellectual disability to tour.

Minutillo will compete in the Special Olympics but trains and plays with the paralympic team.

Barty said interest in the sport was gaining momentum.

‘We took eight athletes last year but this year sent away 11,’ he said. ‘Next year we’ll be in a position where we need to cut the team.’

Barty, who has represented Australia 18 times, is a member of the Australian squad for the Paralympics, along with Debenham, of Nedlands.

The pair is now preparing for World Cup qualifiers next year while fellow team members Nick Prescott and Jordan De Stefano have been invited to attend a training camp.

Barty said the WA team trains together in Maylands every Saturday but most players also compete in mainstream competitions.

People interested in playing paralympic soccer can call Gordon Duus on 9422 6914.