The 2019 edition of the world’s biggest high performance sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments – the Global Games – officially opened with a glittering ceremony in Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday (12 October).
The Voice Australia finalist, Ellen Reed, headlined the performances at the Brisbane City Town Hall and more than 800 athletes from nearly 50 countries wound their way through the city centre.
The national anthem was then performed by ‘Choir of Hard Knocks’ Founder Jonathon Welsh ahead of fireworks in the city square. The opening was rounded off by a stirring performance by the Brisbane City Gospel Choir.
In attendance were Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk; Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner; Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck; and Para sport luminaries including International Paralympic Committee President, Andrew Parsons, and World Intellectual Impairment Sport President, Marc Truffaut.
From Sunday (13 October) athletes will compete on their road to the Paralympic Games in athletics, swimming and table tennis whilst others will go for gold in seven other sports at the most important event of their careers.
Competition in athletics, swimming and table tennis will be shown live at https://gg2019.org/ alongside live results.
Broadcast footage and photographs will be available on request from email@example.com
A high quality field of athletes have made the journey to Brisbane.
This includes swimming Paralympic champions Michelle Alonso and Wai Lok Tang.
Spain’s Alonso is a double gold medallist in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB14 from London 2012 and Rio 2016. Tang, one of Hong Kong’s leading swimmers, is the title-holder in the men’s 200m freestyle S14.
Swimming schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/swimming
Cape Verde’s Gracelino Barbosa is the bronze medallist from the men’s 400m T20 from Rio 2016.
France’s Gloria Agblemagnon is the world No.2 in shotput F20 and the 2015 Global Games champion in the hammer throw. Agblemagnon is likely to be challenged in the shot-put by Ecuador’s Poleth Mendes, the silver medallist from the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.
Portugal’s Lenine Cunha has won over 200 international medals, including gold from 2015 and bronze from London 2012 in the long jump.
Tokyo 2020 hosts Japan have sent a large team as part of their preparation for their home Paralympics. Their frontrunners include Aimi Toyama as world ranked no.3 in the women’s 400m T20.
Athletics schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/athletics
In table tennis Hungary’s world No. 2 Peter Palos collected silver as the 2018 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para Table Tennis World Championships. Palos followed that up with the same colour at the Euros earlier this year.
France’s Lucas Creange is the world No.3 and European champion. He is also the defending Global Games gold medallist.
Australia’s Sam Von Einem, the world No.4, is also expected to be firmly in the mix as he looks to impress on his home soil.
In the women’s Hong Kong’s Ka Man Wong and Mui Wui Ng are both Paralympic medallists.
Japan’s Kanami Furukawa joins the field as the world No.5 and ITTF Worlds bronze medallist.
Table tennis schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/table-tennis#schedule
New for 2019
Athletics, swimming and table tennis will both include medal events for two new categories at Brisbane 2019.
The II2 category is for athletes with a more several intellectual impairment whilst the II3 caters for athletes with high-functioning autism. The II3 competition is a trial for this edition as research into the category continues.
In the men’s athletics II2, France’s Nicolas Virapin will continue to make history. In 2018 Virapin became the first man to win medals in the category at the World Athletics Indoor Championships. He will go for the first Global Games titles in Brisbane.
France also reached success on the table tennis table in 2017 when Cedric Courrillaud claimed a historic first world title in the category. Teammate Alexandre Sol joined him on the podium.
In swimming the USA’s Libby Beem will also be a history maker. Beem will follow on from her debut at the 2017 World Championships where she competed in the inaugural women’s II3 races.
As well as the Paralympic sports on the schedule, seven others will feature in Brisbane.
Road cycling sees the return of Great Britain’s time trial and road race world champion Kiera Byland. Ecuador’s Eric Javier Surango Tufino highlights the men’s events as the road race world title holder.
France’s Jeremy Teixera Pereira will provide a challenge for Tufino as a former world champion in the time trial.
Track cycling will crown the competition on 19th October as it makes its Global Games debut.
Cycling schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/cycling#schedule
British teenager Anna McBride upset the established order at the 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Tennis World Championships in Paris, France, when she stormed to gold in the women’s singles.
McBride, then aged just 14, beat Belgium’s double world champion Hanna Lavreyson in straight sets to take the gold.
Australia’s Kelly Wren, a multiple world title-holder and the Global Games champion, will line-up hoping to improve on her bronze from last year.
In the men’s singles, Australia have a bright hope in national legend Archie Graham.
Graham is the reigning world and Global Games champion and will surely be planning to make the most of the opportunity to win gold at home.
Great Britain’s Fabrice Higgins made it into both finals but struggled to overcome Graham in 2018 and at the last Global Games in 2015.
The tennis competition will also feature the Global Games debut of players competing in the II2 category.
Tennis schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/tennis#schedule
Hopes for the Australia Pearls are high in the women’s as the reigning world champions and defending Global Games title-holders.
The team are fielding two sides – Australia Gold and Australia Green – to play in the 3v3 format.
At the previous World Championships in 2017, Australia Gold left with the trophy following an all-national final against their teammates.
Eliza Mills headlined her team’s efforts with 27 goals. Kaitlyn Papworth was third on 21. Both players return to the court and will co-captain the Australia Gold team.
On the men’s side France, Portugal and Australia are likely to be the main protagonists as the medallists from 2017.
France overcame Portugal in the 2017 final to grab the world title. Australia left with bronze.
Basketball schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/basketball
Portugal return to the field as the defending champions and world title holders and will once again rely on players such as Guilherme Silva and Joao Campelo.
Campelo was Portugal’s most valuable player during their Futsal Worlds win in 2017, scoring seven goals. Silva was just behind him on six.
The Portuguese just edged France to gold by one goal and will try again for the title in Brisbane.
Futsal schedule: https://gg2019.org/sports/futsal
Rowing and taekwondo round-off the 10 sports being contested at Brisbane 2019. Taekwondo makes its official Global Games debut after being a demonstration sport in 2015.