Learn more about Arafura Games
The Arafura Games is a Multi-sport event usually held every 2 years in the Australian city of Darwin, in the Northern Territory. It is an international event which draws its competitors from around Australasia. First held in 1991, the most recent Games, held in 2001, involved 25 nations and over 3,000 athletes. From 2005, it will include events for athletes with physical disabilities.
Called a "meeting of Sporting Neighbours", the Arafura Games takes its name from the Arafura Sea, which lies between northern Australia and Southeast Asia. The Games were known as the Arafura Sports Festival up until 1997.
These Games were the first ever international sporting festival to have Australian rules football as an international competition sport in its own right. The International Australian Football Council was formed after the 1995 Games.
The sports that are to be played at the 2007 Games are:
- Athletics for athletes with disabilities (AWD)
- Australian rules football - demonstration sport
- Wheelchair basketball
- Cycling incorporating events for athletes with a disability
- International lifesaving
- Lawn bowls
- Swimming AWD
- Table tennis incorporating events for athletes with a disability
- Wheelchair tennis
- Ten-pin bowling
- Indoor volleyball
- Powerlifting for athletes with a Disability
The Arafura Games will next be held in Darwin 12 May to 19 May 2007.
 Australian Football at the Arafura Games
In 1995, the Singapore Wombats, New Zealand Falcons, Hong Kong Dragons, Papua New Guinea Mosquitos, Nauru Chiefs and Japan Samurai competed at the Arafura games in the inaugural Australian rules football competition, with Singapore and Japan playing as a combined unit.
Nauru did not return in 1997, but Australian sides in the Central Desert Eagles, Combined Australian Defence Forces and a Northern Territory Football League side joined the fray. The Australian Defence Force and NTFL sides were too strong, playing off for the Australian gold. The International Gold Medal was won by Papua New Guinea, with the Silver Medal going to New Zealand.
In 1999, the Samoa Bulldogs debuted beginning the game with the Sivi Tau (war dance) before the New Zealanders had finished their haka. The tournament again featured 8 sides, the six international sides joined by the Central Desert Eagles and the Northern Territory under 16s representative side. Papua New Guinea again won the gold, NZ the silver and Samoa the Bronze Medal.
2001 saw only four sides compete, these being Japan, Nauru, the Central Desert Eagles and a Northern Territory Super Rules squad. Nauru won the gold, the Central Desert Eagles the silver and the Northern Territory side the bronze.
In 2005, Japan were the only international attendees.
In 2007 it is expected that many Oceania sides will once again participate.