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Arafura Games
MottoMeeting of Sporting Neighbours
First event1991
Occur everyBiannually
PurposeMixed competition for able-bodied and disabled athletes
HeadquartersDarwin, Australia

The Arafura Games is a multi-sport event where athletes with a disability compete in the same program as able-bodied athletes. Competitors from around the world compete in the week-long games held every 2 years in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.[1]

Called a "meeting of Sporting Neighbours", the Arafura Games takes its name from the Arafura Sea, which lies between northern Australia and Southeast Asia. Nations along the Arafura Sea originally formed the basis of the Arafura Games, however in recent years countries from further afield have participated, including United States, England, Brazil and Liechtenstein.


First held in 1991. A foundation sport of the Arafura Games, Basketball has grown from a 4 team competition with teams from around the Darwin region to an 8 team international competition with teams from all over the world. 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, playing an important role in promoting Aussie Rules until dissolving in 2001.

The Arafura Games were cancelled in 2003 due to concern over the SARS virus. From 2005 onwards, the Arafura Games included events for athletes with physical disabilities. The 2007 Arafura Games received patronage from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

In 2011, the Arafura Games incorporated the Oceania Paralympic Championships for the sports of athletics, swimming, powerlifting, and table tennis.[2]

The 2013 Arafura Games was cancelled by the newly elected CLP government on 31 October 2012 as it "costs too much to run".[3]

After an eight-year hiatus, the 2019 Arafura Games were held from 27 April to 4 May 2019.

The 2021 games were postponed until 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it was later announced by the then Major Events Minister Natasha Fyles, that all future Arafura Games were to be scrapped.

Edition Year Dates Location Country Participants Countries
I 1991 Darwin  Australia
II 1993 Darwin  Australia
III 1995 Darwin  Australia
IV 1997 Darwin  Australia
V 1999 Darwin  Australia
VI 2001 19–26 May Darwin  Australia 3100 25
2003 cancelled Darwin  Australia
VII 2005 14–21 May Darwin  Australia
VIII 2007 12–19 May Darwin  Australia
IX 2009 9–16 May Darwin  Australia
X 2011 6–14 May Darwin  Australia
2013 cancelled Darwin  Australia
XI 2019 [4] 27 April–4 May Darwin  Australia
2021 postponed due to COVID-19 Darwin  Australia
2023 Cancelled and all future events cancelled Darwin  Australia


Conducted under Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) conditions and Guidelines, Basketball is played at the Darwin Basketball Stadium, Abala Road Marrara, in the Marrara Sporting Complex.

In recent years, USA squad players from university teams dominated the competition. The Northern Territory team have been shaded in the last 4 Arafura Games by the Americans and only their depth on the bench has let them down. The Northern Territory have won the Silver medal in the past 4 Arafura games. 2007 Arafura Games Basketball results:

Gold United States of America: USA Colleges
Silver Northern Territory: Northern Territory
Bronze Australian Indigenous: Australian Indigenous


Other sports played at the Arafura Games:

Participating countries


  1. ^ "Arafura Games". Archived from the original on 10 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Arafura Games 2011" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Arafura Games blows the budget". NT News. 31 October 2012. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  4. ^ "The Arafura Games". Retrieved 20 December 2017.

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