NEWS: Jets Powerchair gun Dmitri Liolio-Davis spreading his sport

Newcastle Jets Powerchair player Dmitri Liolio-Davis represented the club at the 2016 Wheelchair Sports New South Wales Expo held at the University of Newcastle last week.

Speaking at the event, Liolio-Davis was complimentary of the support his sport of Powerchair football has received from the Newcastle Jets over the past 12 months, as well as the Hunter region’s interest in sport for people with a disability. 

“We are in the Hunter region today hoping to get a feel and a grasp that it [Powerchair football] can grow here,” Liolio-Davis said. “The more that Powerchair football grows the more it helps us because it means more competition and we could find better players.”

“We [Powerchair football] started off in 2010 and since then we have gotten a lot of support from the Hyundai A-League clubs. Each club has a Powerchair club affiliated with it and we play out at Kevin Betts Stadium in Sydney for six months of the year.”

“We have had great support here in New South Wales from the Central Coast Mariners, the [Newcastle] Jets, Sydney [FC] and the [Western Sydney] Wanderers.”

“We would like to get other competitions out in regional areas in New South Wales seeing that New South Wales is the biggest state organisation that we have for Powerchair football,” he said.

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Having travelled from Sydney to attend the event, Liolio-Davis said family connections with the region plus the club have made it all the more special representing Newcastle Jets.

“Most of my family are originally from Newcastle. I have lived in Sydney all my life but have always had a soft spot for Newcastle,” he explained.

“Ever since then we have been the Jets out of Sydney.”

“I’m a Knights and Jets fan and when we started the Powerchair football for New South Wales Hyundai A-League based clubs donated kits to our league. I was the first one to grab the Jets [jersey] for my team!”

The Jets invited Liolio-Davis and some of his teammates to a training session last season, where he met his favourite player Ben Kantarovski, and he is excited about the prospect further visits to the club.

“We [Kantarovski and Liolio-Davis] both wear number five and when we came to the training session he had a really nice long chat with me and was really interested in our sport,” he said. “Ben also played against my cousin when he was younger.”

“We got a very generous donation from a local Harvey Norman in Newcastle who gave us $500 which really helped with paying for the team and player registration fees.”

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Although the sport is continuing to grow in Australia Liolio-Davis believes the national team, the ‘Poweroos’, have overachieved to date.

A national player himself, Liolio-Davis is confident that they can do so again at next year’s Powerchair Football World Cup in Florida.

“We are still in our infancy having only being around for five years but the sport is growing,” Liolio-Davis said.

“In the United States they have hundreds and hundreds of players, multiple divisions, a top league, a second division and a third division, so they have massive infrastructure there and they are the standard that every country aspires to get to,” he said.

You can learn more about Powerchair Football or support the Newcastle Jets Powerchair Team by liking their official page on Facebook and contacting them through the social media channel.