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Naz on The Road to Rio

9 September, 2016

Spire is extremely proud of its peer-support team leader, Nazim Erdem who is heading off to Rio to compete for Australia in his fifth Paralympic Games!

A veteran member of the Australian Wheelchair Rugby team, Naz will compete alongside nearly 200 other Australians and over 4,000 International athletes as they fight to bring home the gold.

With 2 silver medals and a gold under his belt, Naz is expecting a tough slog and fierce competition at the 2016 games.

Naz said, “Australia has been a target in international competitions since we won gold at London in 2012. 

“We came second at the Asia-Oceania Championship in Japan so we’re coming back as underdogs and we’ll have to really bring it to win gold this year.”

“I started playing wheelchair rugby as part of my rehabilitation because I didn’t want to see what ‘unhealthy’ looked like."

“Competing in the Paralympics was never my aim but it’s taken me around the world. It’s been fantastic."

Naz is a defender for the Australian Steelers. As the eldest and most capped member of the team, he often acts as a mentor for his teammates, which reflects his role as the Spire peer-support team leader. Naz has also mentored and supported countless other people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) to help tackle the issues of life with SCI, connect with others and help set and achieve goals to live a full and satisfying life..

Being a role model came naturally to Naz, who took up wheelchair rugby in 1992, partially to demonstrate determination to his younger brother, Muhammet.

Fitness, socialising and passion for the game motivated Naz to continue playing, and 24 years later his passion hasn’t faded.

“I started playing wheelchair rugby as part of my rehabilitation because I didn’t want to see what ‘unhealthy’ looked like.

“Competing in the Paralympics was never my aim but it’s taken me around the world. It’s been fantastic,” he said.

Spire and the SCI community wish Naz and the team good luck for Rio and hope they can add another gold to their medal collection.

The 2016 Summer Paralympic Games will take place from the 8th - 19th of September. You can watch and cheer on our athletes on Network 7 and keep up to date with Naz and the Australian Steelers on their Facebook page.

For more information on Australia’s Paralympic athletes, click here.

If you are interested in joining a team or would like more information about wheelchair rugby or other wheelchair sports in Victoria, visit Disability Sport and Recreation.

The 2016 Australian Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team members are:

Ryley Batt – Port Macquarie, NSW, Chris Bond – Battery Hill, QLD, Cameron Carr – Port Macquarie, NSW, Andrew Edmondson – Kingsford, NSW, Nazim Erdem – Roxburgh Park, VIC, Ben Fawcett – Cormadai, VIC, Andrew Harrison – Bayswater North, VIC, Josh Hose – Footscray, VIC, Jason Lees – Hoppers Crossing, VIC, Matt Lewis – Pakenham, VIC, Ryan Scott (c) – Zillmere, QLD, Jayden Warn – Drouin, VIC

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