Focusing on the sustainability of ParaSport within the Pacific region and developing the skills of para-athletes will be a key focus of the Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Network being hosted at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus from 17-19 September.
The three-day strategic workshop will see key stakeholders come together including the Vice President and Board Members of the International Paralympic Committee, as well as key representatives from the Oceania Paralympic Committee Board, Paralympics Australia, Paralympics New Zealand, Oceania Olympic Committee.
Key partners will present at the Workshop and provide insights including aspirations of the Pacific Games Council, Commonwealth Games Federation, Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Performance Centre.
Director of Games Engagement and Partnerships for 2032 Dr Caroline Riot said the focus of the weekend is on the core strategic pillars of Governance, Development and Partnerships, and that the hope is to have 17 Oceania countries represented at the Paralympic Games in 2032.
“We want to see more Oceania countries getting involved in para-sport and building capability in the region by drawing on Griffith experts from the Inclusive Futures Beacon,” Dr Riot said.
“This will be a great opportunity to discuss the development of the next strategy for Paralympic sport in Oceania with the ultimate goal of seeing more athletes from the region competing at an international level.”
The workshop follows a successful Birmingham Commonwealth Games campaign by the Griffith University and Commonwealth Games Federation led-GAPS program (Gather, Adjust, Prepare, Sustain).
Griffith Associate Professor Clare Minahan said GAPS offers emerging Pacific athletes and coaches access to additional skills, knowledge and resources.
“The aim is to advance education and support the development of inclusive sport pathways that promotes positive social change in sport and communities,” Associate Professor Minahan said.
“We had 50 athletes competing in 58 events at the Birmingham Games, six of those athletes were appointed flag bearers.
“The GAPS para-athletes had a great games winning nine medals include one gold, four silver and four bronze.
“They achieved 15 personal best times, and smashed one World Record and one Games record, a brilliant result!
“Who knows what talent we could unearth by getting more countries involves in the GAPS program.”