Rio 2016: Ryley Batt – Wheelchair Rugby

Rio 2016: Ryley Batt – Wheelchair Rugby
Seven Network
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Ryley Batt OAM is one of the greatest wheelchair rugby players the world has ever seen. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be his fifth Paralympic Games.

To date he’s won 3 Paralympic medals, 2 of them gold.

Batt is the co-captain of the Tokyo 2020 Australian Paralympic Team, alongside seasoned para-table tennis star Danni Di Toro.

Batt’s physical impairment is a congenital double hand and leg limb deficiency. Until the age of 12 he avoided using a wheelchair but a fortuitous meeting with two-time Paralympian wheelchair rugby champion Brad Dubberley led to him taking up the sport.

Just 3 years later he was representing Australia at the Athens 2004 Paralympics as the youngest ever wheelchair rugby player.

As is obvious from this interview on Weekend Sunrise, broadcast on 20 February 2016 in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympics (for which Seven had exclusive broadcast rights), he is a terrific role model for his sport.

Batt looks comfortable in his role as a spokesperson for the Weekend Sunrise Parathon fundraiser in this engaging and jovial interview with hosts Andrew O’Keefe and Angela Cox. Batt makes the compelling point that if people watch the sport they’ll ‘be blown away by the abilities these guys have, not the disabilities’.

This excerpt makes excellent use of footage featuring Batt from various Paralympic wins including Beijing 2008 and London 2012. The most memorable vision is of the team embracing after a winning goal.

The footage the production had access to must have been limited because they repeat some of the footage while Batt is speaking. We also see Batt embrace his coach – none other than the man who started it all for him, Brad Dubberley.

There is stunning vision in a split screen of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics while Batt is speaking. Just to prove the show is recorded live there’s a small glitch where their stock vision plays a few frames of a weightlifter before it shifts back to just Batt on screen. At another point, O'Keefe accidentally talks over Batt, unaware he hasn't finished speaking!

Notes by Beth Taylor