Gymnastics Victoria are breaking down barriers at the 2017 Victorian Gymnastics Championships by including Special Olympics Gymnastics as part of the competition.
The Victorian Championships are being held on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend (10-12 June) at the State Netball & Hockey Centre in Parkville with the Special Olympics Gymnastics competition featuring on Sunday 11 June.
Fifteen athletes with disabilities will compete in both Women’s and Men’s Gymnastics across the full spectrum of apparatus after commencing the session with an Opening Ceremony at 12.30pm.
The Victorian Championships Special Olympics competition will act as a qualifying event for the Special Olympics National Championships which can then lead to the Special Olympics World Games.
The session will conclude at approximately 4pm with an awards ceremony which will include medal presentations by one of Australia’s most successful Special Olympic Gymnasts, Cassy Geffke.
Gymnastics Victoria have over 9,935 people with disability participating in Gymnastics across the state, with a further 57 in leadership positions, consolidating them as a leader in the inclusivity space.
Over the last 12 months Gymnastics Victoria have played a vital role in establishing the partnership between Special Olympics Australia and Gymnastics across the country.
The partnership works towards Gymnastics removing limitations that exist for people with disabilities in the sport by creating meaningful programs for people of all abilities and ages.
The number of clubs in Victoria which offer Special Olympics Gymnastics programs is set to double this year with a big focus throughout Victoria on clubs offering inclusive Gymnastics options.
One-fifth of the 130 Gymnastics Clubs across Victoria are recognised as Inclusive Leader Gymnastics Clubs and supported by Gymnastics Victoria with resources and training to allow them to offer programs suitable for athletes of all abilities.
Earlier this year a Special Olympics Gymnastics display took place during the final session of the 2017 Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne at Hisense Arena, a prelude to having them integrated into competition at the Victorian Championships.
Special Olympics Australia’s Sports Development Manager Simon Rodder believes Gymnastics Victoria is leading the way in making sport inclusive.
“It will be wonderful to watch the Special Olympics gymnasts compete alongside mainstream gymnasts, this is a truly inclusive competition,” says Mr Rodder.
“We hope the partnership between Special Olympics Australia and the sport of Gymnastics provides a template for how all sports can work together effectively – we have created links at National, State and local level to provide outcomes for all involved”.
Gymnastics Victoria CEO Jamie Parsons is proud of the inclusive element that will be a feature of this year’s Victorian Gymnastics Championships.
“The Special Olympics Gymnastics Competition is set to be a highlight of our Victorian Championships and we are pleased to give everyone opportunities to compete at the highest level across the state,” says Mr Parsons.
The Victorian Gymnastics Championships run from 10-12 June with the Special Olympics Gymnastics Competition happening on Sunday 11 June from 12.30pm.
For more information on the Victorian Gymnastics Championships visit www.gymnasticsvictoria.org.au.
If you would like information on media accreditation for the Victorian Gymnastics Championships contact Gen Simmons on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Gymnastics Victoria