By Jed Lanyon
Parabeach volleyball player Nick Coburn has been selected to represent Australia at the upcoming Beach World Series Open in Pingtan, China.
This will mark Mr Coburn’s fifth tournament over 19 years but he explains that his sport receives very little funding.
“Because we’re not a Paralympic sport at the moment, we don’t get funding from the Paralympic Committee.
To be able to represent Australia at the Beach World Open Series in China, Mr Coburn has set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise funds to cover the costs of the tournament.
The tournament will run on 9-12 May and Mr Coburn is hoping to raise $3000.
“It’s not just flights and accommodation but entry fees, uniforms, paying for facilities and coaches.
“We haven’t been able to get a team, just because we are all self-funded,” Mr Coburn said.
The success of tournaments like these may influence the Paralympic Committee to add parabeach volleyball to the 2028 Paralympics in Los Angeles.
Mr Coburn loves the opportunity to be able to represent Australia internationally.
“It’s just an honour, it’s the best country in the world, I love it when you pull on the green and gold it’s just something different… It’s a dream come true.
“I’m 36 in a week. It’s getting towards the end of my career. I don’t expect to be playing in 2028 (LA Paralympics) and I hope I’m not because I hope there’s some young kids coming through to take my spot.
“But I’ll take the honour while I can. And then hopefully it’ll encourage some more kids with disabilities to come and play to be able to send a good team to go and play in Los Angeles,” Mr Coburn said.
Mr Coburn suffers from Erb’s Palsy, a condition where he is unable to straighten his arm past a 90 degree angle.
“If there are any kids out there who have a disability, who want to play sport, get in contact with your local sporting association or the Australian Paralympic Committee.
“Because they are always talent searching no matter what disability you have,” Mr Coburn said.
To donate to Mr Coburn’s Go Fund Me, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/help-nick-play-parabeach-volleyball-for-australia