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Enthusiastic participants at Paralympics Australia’s Come and Try Day in Brisbane last Saturday had the rare opportunity to mingle with a host of the nation’s Paralympic stars, including Tokyo 2020 gold medallists in cycling and canoe.

Around 60 participants and their family and friends gained valuable insights into 13 different Paralympic sports, while some others were interested in learning about classification processes and coaching in Para-sport.

Among the Paralympians who attended were Curtis McGrath, who won two Para-canoe gold medals at Tokyo 2020, and Paige Greco, the winner of one gold and two bronze medals in Para-cycling at the Games last year.

Other Tokyo 2020 representatives included leading Australian Steelers wheelchair rugby player Chris Bond, Para-archer Taymon Kenton-Smith and Australian Gliders wheelchair basketball player Hannah Dodd.

Former Glider-turned-canoeist Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy, two-time Paralympic athletics representative Torita Blake and retired Glider Bridie Kean were on hand, as well as another Tokyo 2020 Gliders player, Ella Sabljak, who is also Paralympics Australia’s Education Manager.

“There was a young boy I used to teach who did Frame Running, for people with cerebral palsy, and he was there jumping in to try different sports, wheelchair basketball, canoe and others. It was really great,” said Sabljak, who is a school teacher by profession.

“It was a big turnout and there were lots of different ages. It was great to see young kids and older people all wanting to get fit and active and engage in Para-sports. It was really cool hearing about people’s journeys. There’s still a lot of momentum after Tokyo and people are keen to get involved.”

PA’s Participation and Pathways Coordinator (QLD) Nat Charlton said the event brought together scores of people who were looking for new experiences and contacts.

“There was lots of really positive feedback with people enjoying being able to learn and try different sports they hadn’t previously considered, or even known about,” Charlton said.

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Attendees were free to try out a wide range of sports:
Para-table tennis
Para-ice hockey
Wheelchair tennis
Wheelchair basketball
Wheelchair rugby

Charlton said representatives from each of the sports did a great job engaging participants and showcasing what their sports had to offer.

“These included activation setups and also the Paralympians and pathway athletes they brought along to chat to and coach participants,” she said.

“We’ve also had great feedback from the sports saying how beneficial the day was for them.”

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 13 May 2022