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Greg Hartung retires as head of Australian Paralympic Committee

December 12, 2013

Today marks the end of an era for the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), with the retirement of its President of 16 years, Greg Hartung AO.

Hartung will officially retire at the APC's Annual General Meeting and Governing Board election to be held in Sydney.

Elected APC President in 1997, Hartung guided the organisation through a period of rapid growth which saw it become one of the leading National Paralympic Committees in the world.

APC Chief Executive Jason Hellwig said Hartung's retirement brings to an end the most important and influential career in the history of the APC.

Hellwig explained "it has been an absolute honour to serve under Greg's leadership and I congratulate him for the outstanding contribution he has made to the APC and the entire Paralympic movement during his tenure.

"Greg has masterfully overseen the APC's transformation from a small and struggling organisation to its modern day position as a leader in disability sport."

Under Greg Hartung's leadership, the APC successfully prepared Australian teams for eight Paralympic Games, established national programs in classification and talent identification which are now renowned worldwide, introduced a successful national Paralympic Education Program, and initiated programs to increase the representation of female athletes and athletes with higher levels of disability on Australian Paralympic Teams.

Hartung also drove the implementation of 'mainstreaming' partnerships with national sporting federations, which have made a significant impact on the success of Australia's Paralympic Preparation Programs.

In addition, Hartung lobbied for a more equitable level of Federal sports funding for athletes with a disability and helped to deliver his vision of an organisation at the leading edge of Australian sport.

Hellwig adds "as a direct result of Greg's achievements, the APC has grown its total annual income more than ten-fold, which has been used to create more opportunities for athletes, coaches and support personnel to get involved in Paralympic sport, and build Australia's position as a leader internationally.

"Australia has not finished outside the top five at a summer Paralympics while Greg has been at the helm, but it is the work he has overseen at a development level which will be his greatest legacy because Australia continues to produce outstanding junior talent which holds us in good stead for the Paralympics in Rio and beyond."

Adding his praise, APC Vice President Nick Dean stated "Greg has been a visionary leader and one of the hardest workers I've known. When he joined the APC Board following the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, the Paralympic movement and the APC were relatively unknown in Australia. Under his leadership we have seen the movement grow and the APC become a leading national sporting organisation.

"Greg has a passion for Paralympic sport and an obvious delight in the wonderful performances of our athletes and that has driven everything the APC has strived for, and achieved, over the past 16 years."

Earlier this year, Hartung was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List. The honour followed his Order of Australia Medal in 2002, his Centenary Medal in 2001 and his Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

Hartung's intricate knowledge of the Australian sport system stems from his involvement with the Australian Sports Commission where he served as Chair (2008-2010), Commissioner (1991-1996, 2005-2010) and inaugural General Manager (1984-88). He also held senior roles as President of the Confederation of Australian Sport, Chair of the Australian Sports Foundation, Deputy Chair of the Australian Coaching Council and Vice President of Sydney Paralympic Games Organising Committee.

His knowledge, ability and experience have also been extremely sought after internationally.

After becoming a Governing Board Member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 2001, Hartung was elected International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Vice President in 2009 and served until he retired from the role last month.

He also held positions on several International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commissions including the Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games in Rio (2010-2012), the IOC Evaluation Commission for 2016 (2008-2009), the IOC Press Commission (2011-2012) and the IOC Radio and Television Commission (2005-2012).

In 2000, Hartung was elected as President of the South Pacific Paralympic Committee which set about establishing programs to assist Pacific nations to provide meaningful opportunities for Paralympic athletes.

These programs led to the establishment of the Oceania Paralympic Championships in 2007, and later produced the first medallist (Papua New Guinea's Francis Kompaon in 2008) and first gold medallist (Fiji's Illesa Delana in 2012) at a Paralympic Games for a Pacific nation apart from Australia and New Zealand.

Hellwing concluded "Greg's achievements on the international stage speak for themselves. No Australian has made a greater contribution to the leadership and administration of the Paralympic movement.

"His vision and strategic guidance has been instrumental in the movement's progress, and his commitment to improving the lives of those living with a disability has been unwavering.

"There is no doubt that Greg's presence will be sorely missed, but we are reassured by the fact that Greg's leadership has put us in the perfect position to continue to create opportunities for people with a disability to engage in sport and achieve Paralympic success."


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