One of Australia’s most experienced and successful Paralympians, Angie Ballard, wants people of all skill levels to know they’re welcome at Paralympics Australia’s Multi-Sport Days in Canberra and Toowoomba this weekend because, she said, “sport should be for everyone”.
Ballard has competed at six Paralympic Games and won eight medals, claimed five World Championships and Commonwealth Games gold in an exceptional Para-athletics career so far. She will be at the Tuggeranong Indoor Multi-Use Sporting Facility from 1.30pm on Saturday, welcoming participants, answering questions and encouraging people to get involved.
“People with disabilities just don’t get opportunities in mainstream sporting environments, like schools and clubs. So this is the place to come,” Ballard said.
“There’s equipment, there’s people who know what they’re talking about and you can actually try quite a few sports all in one day.
“Even if you don’t know what works, there are knowledgeable people in the room who can say ‘Hey, this might work for you’. This is that opportunity.”
Ballard said everyone deserved the chance to be active and try new experiences.
“Sport should be for everyone,” she said.
“It’s really difficult sometimes when you have a disability to find where you can fit, where you can compete, or where you can just hang out with other people. Everyone deserves that.
“You don’t have to know where you want to go with sport to come to a Multi-Sport Day. No one needs goals here, other than that they’d like to try something new and maybe meet some people who can help them do that.”
Paralympics Australia’s program to increase participation in sport among the 20 percent of Australians with a disability also heads to Queensland’s Darling Downs this weekend, with an event in Toowoomba on Sunday from 10am.
“I always look forward to attending the Paralympics Australia Multi-Sport Days,” said Janine Watson, who won bronze in the newly introduced sport of Para-taekwondo at the Tokyo Games.
“This event in Toowoomba is very special for me as I grew up in a small country town in south-west Queensland two hours west of Toowoomba and to have this opportunity available in regional areas is fantastic.”
Watson said attending a PA Multi-Sport Day was a unique opportunity for people to discover Para-sports.
“All the equipment is there, sportspeople to help you out and no pressure or stress about having to be ‘good’ or making a team,” she said.
“If you find something you enjoy you can then find out more information about how you can get involved. An added bonus is that you get to come and hang out with Paralympians like myself for the day.”
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By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 8 September 2022