Somewhere amongst the money, power and politics of modern-day sport, there’s truth. Sometimes this truth is hard to find.
The Powerchair Jets, which have just secured a title for Newcastle, seem to have a connection to the true meaning of sport.
The Newcastle Jets Powerchair Football Club play in a four-team competition with other powerchair clubs from Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
In the last match of a 15-game season, which ran from April to September, the Jets tasted glory. In an epic top-of-the-table clash, the Jets needed a win and Sydney FC a draw to win the title. The Jets won 2-1, clinching the league championship by two points from Sydney FC.
Dimitri Liolio-Davis is captain of the Powerchair Jets.
“I absolutely love football,” said Dimitri, who is a big Newcastle Jets and Chelsea fan.
The powerchair league began in 2010. Since then, Dimitri has been absorbed in the sport.
“That’s all I’ve focused on. I never thought we’d have the opportunity to play at a level like everyone else,” the 34-year-old said.
State and national tournaments also exist, along with Asian and world cups.
“Last year I was a member of the Australian team that went to the World Cup in Florida,” Dimitri said.
“Hopefully, one day there will be a Paralympic sport and I can add that to the list and become a Paralympian.”
The Newcastle Jets provide jerseys and support to the Powerchair Jets.
“This year they paid our team membership fee for our competition [it costs $300 for a club to play in the league],” Dimitri said.
“It’s very special. It helps us a lot.”
The competition is played in Sydney, but Dimitri has strong ties to Newcastle. This is why he chose to play for the Jets.
“My uncle – George Liolio – was the first Jets CEO,” he said.
Dimitri’s family originates from Newcastle.
“I still have connections there and still visit Newcastle quite often,” he said.
The NSW Powerchair Football Association hopes to expand the sport across NSW.
“We’ve tried a couple of times to get a competition going in Newcastle, but I’m sure the organisation won’t give up and we’ll eventually get something up and running,” Dimitri said.
The Sydney-based competition would also welcome more players.
“The more players the better,” he said.
The players, which include males and females, live with conditions such as muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and spinal muscular atrophy.
Former Newcastle Herald journalist Martin Dinneen captured this image of a bus driving along tram lines in Newcastle.
“Bus has identity crisis,” Martin wrote, in a social media post.
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