The countdown to the 2016 Paralympic Games is on – in two short years more than 4,000 athletes from more than 160 countries will arrive to compete in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Among them will no doubt be talent we haven’t even heard of yet. To help uncover athletes with great potential and help establish a new generation of Paralympians, the Australian Paralympic Committee is encouraging young people with a disability to get involved in a Paralympic sport.
“The ‘Get Involved’ days are a perfect way for to give a new sport a go,” said wheelchair racing champion Angie Ballard. “It’s exciting to think that the events give teens the opportunity to see if they could potentially aim for Rio.”
The program, created after the Australian Paralympic Committee received new funding from the Coca‑Cola Australia Foundation, is taking place across Australia, showing off the Para-sport disciplines of swimming, boccia, table tennis, basketball, cycling, athletics and goalball. Check out the Australian Paralympic website for details.
Even if you don’t think you’re Paralympian material, the sports days are available to any young person with a disability – no matter what their skill level. “Even if their sights aren’t set on a Paralympic sporting career, it’s still awesome for teens to come along and enjoy sport,” said Paralympic swimmer Brendan Hall.
At the end of the day, the aim is simply to showcase the power of sport for people with a disability, especially young people.
“Through our work across 18 Paralympic sports, we know the hugely positive physical and social benefits that Paralympic sport can provide people with a disability,” said Jason Hellwig, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Paralympic Committee.
“We aim to inspire more young people to participate in Paralympic sport and encourage them to take it as far as their talent and desire possibly can.”
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