15 June 2023

Bronzed Aussie Alford making a splash at Virtus Games in France

| Gail Eastaway
Join the conversation
Swimmer on podium

Swimmer Josh Alford has won bronze at the Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, Photo: Bob Alford.

Canberra and former Cooma swimmer Josh Alford has picked up three bronze medals at the sixth Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, in the past week.

He placed third in the 1500-metre freestyle on day four and followed with a bronze in the 400m on day 5.

He finished fourth in the 800m freestyle on day one.

Alford and relay teammates Jarred Dyer, Bailey Stewart and Darren Sisman finished third in the 2 x 200m freestyle event.

He and his 4 x 100m freestyle relay team placed seventh and the 4 x 50m relay team finished sixth.

Alford, 27, set a world record for the 800m freestyle at the 2022 Virtus Oceania Asian swimming titles in October.

He has had a successful career in the pool since he started competing in 2014.

READ ALSO Man behind the mask (or the Viking head) looks back at a 40-year career, with no plans to slow down

He learned to swim when he was three years old but did not take up the sport competitively until 2014.

Growing up in Cooma, he also developed a passion for snowboarding, and the NSW snowfields have become his go-to holiday destination.

At the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane, Alford set personal bests in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle and 50m backstroke events, securing him five finals berths.

In the 200m freestyle final, he recorded another personal best that was nearly six seconds under the qualifying time.

Alford made his Australian swim team and Commonwealth Games debut when he was 18 at the 2014 Glasgow Games.

He competed in the 200m freestyle S14 heat and because there were only seven entrants, he progressed to the final and finished sixth.

At the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships in Sydney, he starred in the 50m freestyle multi-class event, winning gold in 25.25 seconds. He also took home two silver medals and a bronze in the 100m, 400m and 200m freestyle finals.

Alford was selected to represent Australia at the 2015 INAS Global Games in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he won a gold medal in the 100m freestyle final and silver in the 50m freestyle event.

He continued this success at the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide, where he won a silver medal in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle multi-class and 200m freestyle finals.

This performance led to his national selection for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

At his Paralympic debut, Alford competed in three events. He finished eighth in the 100m backstroke final but was unable to progress to the medal races in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

He trains at the Swimming Australia National Training Centre under a scholarship program led by Paralympic coach Yuriy Vdovychenko.

Virtus Global Games are the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

Thousands of athletes from Europe, the US, Asia, Africa and Oceania performed across 10 main sports.

READ ALSO ‘Be the best version of you’: Inspiring CrossFit mum raises the bar at Torian Pro

The Games are specifically designed to be conducted every four years, in the year before the Paralympics.

Many athletes who have made their major international debut at the Global Games have gone on to win Paralympic titles. Virtus athletes in athletics, swimming and table tennis from the Global Games 2019 represented their countries at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The Virtus Global Games 2023 event provided a world-class platform for athletes with an intellectual impairment on the journey to Paris 2024.

Three years after the organisation was launched in 1986, the first multi-sport event for athletes with an intellectual impairment was held in Harnosand, Sweden, in 1989, named ”the 1st World Games for Athletes with an Intellectual Disability”. Thereafter, the event was named INAS Global Games.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.