Athletes Excel at Griffith GAPS Camp

Griffith exercise science students joined GAPS camp to assist coaches and athletes.

Griffith University, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Oceania Paralympic Committee, hosted the highly anticipated GAPS camp at the Gold Coast Performance Centre in February.

The camp was a crucial preparatory ground for athletes gearing up for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Renowned coach John Eden is working with Pacific athletes across athletic fields including Javelin.

Under the watchful eye of high-performance coaches, including throws coach John Eden from New Zealand, athletes were pushed to their limits through an intensive training regime.

“My role is more about mentoring the coaches in the Oceania region, trying to instill in them the essence of coaching,” John Eden said.

With an impressive 45 years of involvement in para-sports, including 25 years in high-performance coaching, Mr Eden emphasised his ethos: “to be the best you can be.”

The GAPS camp acted as a magnet, drawing together the finest talent from the Oceania region.

Gold Coast Performance Centre hosted GAPS for gym, track and aquatic training.

Athletes and coaches from nine countries converged at the event, showcasing their prowess in various disciplines throughout the week.

Nineteen-year-old Wakako Sisior was introduced to the GAPS camp by her coach, Stephanie Ngirchoimei, who described her journey as challenging and rewarding.

Hailing from Palau, Sisior is known for her bronze medal win in table tennis at the German Special Olympic Games, and she found the camp to be a transformative experience.

“It’s been an experience,” Sisior said.

“The workouts have been intense, leaving me pretty sore, but it’s all worth it.”

For Sisior, the camp symbolised a departure from her usual training routine, offering a broader spectrum of athletic activities.

“It’s helping me stay fit, flexible, and open-minded about trying out new sports,” she said.

GAPS 2024 included a parapowerlifting competition, run by Paralympics Australia.

Sisior’s coach Stephanie Ngirchoimei echoed her sentiments about the transformative power of sports, particularly for individuals with disabilities.

“My passion lies in helping individuals excel through sports,” Ngirchoimei said.

“Sport has the incredible ability to change lives.”

The GAPS camp provided a platform for athletes to hone their skills and fostered a unique sense of camaraderie among participants.

For javelin thrower Junior Dennis, the camp offered invaluable insights into the technical nuances of his sport.

“The coaches here have been instrumental in refining our techniques and enhancing our performance,” Mr Dennis said.

Vanuatu’s John Siaca, who competes in track and throwing events, also noted the camp’s role in elevated his performance.

“I’m proud to represent Vanuatu in sports,” he said.

As athletes continue to train rigorously multiple times a day, the GAPS camp emerges as not only a crucible for athletic excellence but also a nurturing ground for personal growth and community building.

Author details:

Kian Ronay

Bachelor of Arts Undergraduate

[email protected]