Sydney, Australia, 3rd December 2023: Australians living with an intellectual disability or autism are
being encouraged to join their local inclusive sports team, as part of celebrations for International Day of People with Disability (3rd December).
“Each year, the 3rd December provides us with an important reminder, and opportunity, to create more
inclusive programs for people with a disability.” said Pierre Comis, CEO of Special Olympics Australia.
With 45 clubs nationwide and over 3,000 registered athletes, Special Olympics Australia deliver sport and physical activity programs for people with an intellectual disability or autism such as swimming, athletics,dance, football, bocce, tenpin bowling, netball, golf and more.
One such athlete who is reaping the benefits of sport is impressive young talent, Elodie, a 13-year-old swimmer with an intellectual disability from Sydney.
Speaking about her daughter’s success as part of the Special Olympics Australia swimming program, Elodie’s mum, Corrie Sebire, who is also a volunteer with the local Special
Olympics Australia club, commented, “Elodie joined swimming when she was eight years old. She was very shy to start with and would insist on swimming in her own lane away from other people. But after a few weeks, we met so many wonderful athletes who were successful in their sports and helped inspire Elodie.” said Corrie.
“Elodie now trains 4 days a week and competes in 50m and 100m races. She also swam at the NSW All Schools Championships this year and will be competing at the Australian National Multiclass Age Championships on the Gold Coast in 2024, as a swimmer with an intellectual disability.” continued Corrie.
“We are just so proud of her and are very grateful for the training, competition and friendship that Special Olympics Australia has given us. To see Elodie’s confidence grow has been incredible and I’d recommend anyone with an intellectual disability, or their family members, to sign up to their local club - sport can be a gamechanger.” continued Corrie.
“By creating spaces and opportunities for people with an intellectual disability or autism to play sport, we can open the door to personal achievement, pride and inclusion for some of the most marginalised and isolated members of our community. I’d encourage anyone who wants to be more active and make new friends to consider signing up to a Special Olympics program.” continued Pierre Comis, CEO of Special Olympics Australia.
To sign up to a club near you, or support athletes with intellectual disability and autism, visit www.specialolympics.com.au.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics began in Australia in 1976 when many people with an intellectual disability were shut in institutions. While this is no longer the norm in Australia, we continue to seek public support to ensure that people with intellectual disability and autism are not shut out. By helping us give them opportunities to play sport, together we can open the door to personal achievement, pride and inclusion.
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