With Brisbane Australia looking to host the largest representation of international athletes in the history of the INAS Global Games in October this year, the Local Organising Committee is delighted one of the world’s sporting titans is entering a team for the very first time in the 2019 Games.
“We are excited that China has registered a team of 37 athletes and officials who will compete in Athletics, Swimming and Table Tennis,” says Robyn Smith CEO of the INAS Global Games- Brisbane 2019.
China dominated the medal haul across all sports at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, but did not have one athlete with an intellectual impairment in their team due to lack of accessible eligibility processes.
In recent years Sport Inclusion Australia, working closely with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through its Asian Sports Partnership program, has been able to create strong links with key stakeholders in the disability area in China, and has looked at ways of making that eligibility process accessible to China.
“It is clear that China is very supportive of students with an intellectual disability, but their participation in the Paralympics and INAS events has been restricted due to lack of accessible eligibility processes.”
“We have therefore been working with the INAS Global Games international organisation, local businesses in Australia and with the aid of Professor Jan Burns, to have arranged the delivery of an Eligibility Workshop. This was the first step in opening up the international pathway for all athletes with an intellectual impairment in China,” says Smith.
Smith can’t speak highly enough of the organisations in China who have grasped this opportunity, passionately saying, “They have demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and providing more equitable international opportunities for Chinese athletes and we are delighted they will make their debut in the Brisbane Games.”
“This is a world class multi sport competition for elite athletes with an intellectual impairment and as an Organising Committee we have been enthusiastically encouraging all 80 member countries around the world to come to Australia and participate in the first Global Games in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Smith, adding Israel, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Mauritius will also be competing for the first time.