Pararoos are go as Australia's cricketers go through

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Good sporting news all over, reports Lachlan Barker, as the Pararoos have their funding restored and Australia moves into the semi finals of the Cricket World Cup.

A minor life lesson here, for all those who fully espouse the protestant work ethic, due to my laxity in checking all areas of sport, I missed the bad news when it happened and only came across the story at the happy ending bit. Thus am happy to be able to report that first.

So, the good news is that the Pararoos, Australia’s Paralympic soccer team have been able to find funding again through the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). Their  funding was withdrawn by the Abbott Government, represented by then Health and Sport Minister Peter Dutton, in mid-2014.

This was obviously done at the time of the mythical “budget emergency” — and as an act of callous bastardry, it really does beggar belief.

As if the people living with an impairment don’t have enough hurdles to living a full and rich life, without people like Dutton using the budget as an excuse to withdraw funding from such a cause.

At times like this, you really can’t help but say: What the f*ck is wrong with you Dutton and other slime balls in the federal government?

And what was the size of this funding that was withdrawn so the Abbott Government could go on rewarding their friends in the big end of town? $175,000.

Hardly going to bring the budget back to surplus is it?

Anyway, another appallingly callous act by the Canberra trogs but, as ever, adversity brings greatness and, in this case, it mantled the shoulders of young Claire Falls of the ACT.

Claire, angry at this miniscule amount of funding being withdrawn from the Pararoos, began a grass roots activism campaign, and worked tirelessly over the intervening months to bring the issue to the fore, and restore the funding.

Her work bore fruit, and this week the ASF announced that they would form a partnership with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), and now the Pararoos can once again look forward to competing in the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

This is an example where sport is undeniably a good thing, and gives those living with an impairment a great fun activity for social and health interaction.

So a massive well done to young Claire Falls and the ASF for once again putting the Pararoos back into the frame for competition.

I might add, if you watch the entire video clip ofFFA CEO David Gallop announcing the funding partnership in the tweet by Craig Foster below, you will see a young Paralympian on the right of the screen.

This is Chris Pyne, the vice captain of the Pararoos. When Gallop first announced his name, I thought I’d misheard, but no, it’s Chris Pyne — thankfully a much more useful Chris Pyne than the current education minister, who is trying fruitlessly to change the university system so only the rich can afford a university education.

So, a special mention to the Paralympian Chris Pyne, he is living with the twin yokes of an impairment and having the same name as one of the most hated men in the country.

Further afield in the sport world, the Cricket World Cup has completed the quarter finals.

The first quarter final saw South Africa demolish – no other word suffices – Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket ground.

Sri Lanka batted first and crumbled to be all out for 133 in the 38th. The South Africans then took to the wicket and knocked off the runs in 18 overs, with Quinton de Cock (78 n.o.) and Faf du Plessis (21 n.o.) seeing the Africans home.

Then Bangladesh set out on the almighty task of playing India. India batted first and posted 6/302 from their fifty. Rohit Sharma was the backbone, with 137 from 126 deliveries, and other contributions came from Suresh Raina with 65 and Shikhar Dharwan with 30. Bangladesh were never really in it with a steady tumble of wickets accompanying their innings, before they were finally dismissed for 193 in the 45th over.

Then it was Australia’s turn, taking on Pakistan in Adelaide. Pakistan padded up first and showed their quasi-normal ability to fall in a heap for seemingly no reason. They were dismissed, in the end, for a very modest 213 in the fiftieth.

However it is an ancient truism of one day cricket that no matter how small the total, the team batting second still have to get them, and Australia showed a decided touch of the shakes themselves. The early loss of Aaron Finch, followed by opening partner Dave Warner, then captain Michael Clarke saw Australia at 3-59.

However Australian number 5, Shane Watson (64 n.o.), in company with Steve Smith (65) , and then Glenn Maxwell (44 from 37) saw Australia home through some torridly venomous Pakistan fast bowling, particularly from Wahab Riaz. Watson was dropped at fine leg off Riaz with Australia after being completely dominated for several overs and that was the turning point for Australia to take the match away from Pakistan.

So, fireworks aplenty in Adelaide, but that was then shaded by some pyrotechnics Kiwi-style from Martin Guptill in Wellington, New Zealand.

The fourth quarter final saw New Zealand up against the West indies and this was, unlike the sporting cliché, a game of one half, as it was more or less all over from the moment Guptill got to the wicket to open the batting for the men in black.

Guptill launched the willow into the West Indian attack with a series of repeated percussive detonations that saw him end up with 237 n.o from a mere 163 deliveries, with the team finishing their fifty on 393.

The West indies had to go hard from the off, needing 8 runs an over, and they achieved this with a team run rate of 8.16, sadly though they couldn’t sustain it, and were all out for 250 in the 31st over.

This hailstorm of runs from Guptill sees him take second place in the record books for high scores in one day cricket. Indian demolition expert, Rohit Sharma is first with 264 from 173 balls. Guptill displaced Indian Virender Sehwag into third place with his 219 from 149.

So the semi finals now see South Africa against New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday, and Australia v India in Sydney on Thursday.

So well done Martin Guptill for a supernova of a performance, and a reiterated ‘well done to young Claire Falls and the Australian Sports Foundation.

What Claire achieved, and the ASF are now supporting, just makes you feel good.

Lachlan Barker blogs at You can follow him on Twitter @cyclonecharlie8.

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