“Paralympians in men’s 1,500m T13 final clock faster times than Olympic gold medallist.” With headlines like this, it’s easy to see why the 2016 Rio Paralympics has us hooked, as blind runner, Abdellatif Baka of Algeria, blitzed the men’s 1,500m T13 final with a time faster than the gold medal winner at the Olympics last month, setting a new Paralympic World Record in what could be called one of the most significant moments in Paralympic history. Baka’s time was 1.71 seconds faster than the 3 minutes 50 seconds that Matthew Centrowitz needed to win Olympic gold three weeks ago. Incredible.
As the Paralympians shine in Rio, the light here was on Disability Action Week. The timing of Disability Action Week (11th and 17th of September) couldn’t have been more perfect, coinciding wonderfully with the Rio Paralympic Games. And it’s Paralympics achievements like this that shine a light on the outstanding ability of those individuals competing, whilst raising awareness of, and empowering, people with disability.
This year’s theme, ‘Inclusion: it’s a game changer’, focussed on promoting the inclusion of people living with disability across all areas of sport and the wider community. Celebrations have also been aligned with the 2016 Paralympic Games and as Queensland transitions to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which started rolling out on 1 July, working towards an inclusive community has never been more important. The latest statistics tells us that 1 in 5 Queenslanders are living with disability, a ratio which highlights the need for a heightened awareness that there are those with special needs in our community requiring support.
Across the state, there were a fantastic array of events was held including;
- ‘Is Everybody Here?’ was held at the Currimundi Recreation Centre on the Sunshine Coast to raise awareness of the range of sport and recreational opportunities available to primary school aged children with disability as well as their teachers and families. The day’s event was well received with a turnout of more than 120 school children living with disability taking part in sports related activities. NDIS Queensland Ambassador and renowned Paralympian, Karni Liddell, was also on-hand to host the event, with coverage from Channel 7;
- at the University of the Sunshine Coast, students ran information tables, croquet games and bocce for passers-by;
- a five-day Writers Festival in Brisbane with the theme ‘Belonging’ connecting communities through stories;
- a 21st Party celebrating 21 years of Disability Action Week in Stanthorpe;
- a Dressage Day was held by the McIntyre Centre at Moggill Pony Club grounds in Pullenvale and raised $12,500;
- an Amazing Race in Hervey Bay;
- a long list of local golf days, beach activities, morning teas and sausage sizzles; and
- NDIS information sessions in Toowoomba and across Queensland.
Hats off to everyone who made their Disability Action Week events this year a success!
Feature photo used with permission from the McIntyre Centre (special thanks to Jim Green). More photos of their event can be seen on the McIntyre Centre Facebook page.