From the outset our host country successfully showcased their country and their organizational skill which was extraordinary. I am sure every country will agree with Australia in complimenting the Organising committee on every aspect of the enormous task that they undertook. Nothing was left to chance and our hosts and the large team of volunteers ensured that the event ran smoothly and competitions, transport, accomodation, meals etc was of the highest standard. It is no mean task to organize an event of this nature and to meet the many diverse needs of people with disabilities, however everyone we spoke to had nothing but high accolades for our hosts and the charm of the people.
The competitions were held at the AT Centre.
Several of the social events including the Opening and Closing ceremonies were held at Olympic Village (home of the 1988 Olympics).
Australia’s Team comprised of 6 people with disabilities and 3 escorts, including a State Registered Nurse, Physiotherapist and the Team Leader who is also an Executive Member of the International Abilympics Federation and as such attended all official meetings etc.
Five of Australia’s team are wheelchair users and our team competed in the following workskill events:
- Basic Data Entry
- Bicycle Assembly
- Outdoor Photography
- Wood Carving
- Word Processing
One competitor also competed in the new leisure category of e-sports and although he was not awarded a medal he placed fourth and received a special award. It is probably noteworthy at this point to also state that he experienced difficulties with his allocated computer. He is to be congratulated on the fact that he handled the situation with patience and compassion for the technicians working to remedy the situation.
Austalia placed 5th in Bicycle Assembly and would probably have been a medal contender but he was unable to complete the task in the allotted time.
Like all International Competitions the standard is extremely high. I am proud to have been part of the Australian Team, who conducted themselves in the true spirit of the Abilympic movement.
Several of the team members will be considered for future selection as although no medals were won they performed well. With several years to practice their chosen fields they coud place in future events.
It is hoped that a larger team can be considered for the 9th International Abilympics and we look forward to hearing from people with disabilities in the next two years.
Competitions aside, our hosts made sure that social events were not only enjoyable but provided the opportunity for cultural exchanges between participants. Team members were able to mingle with competitors from other countries exchanging ideas, beliefs, much humour and the sharing of knowledge.
As readers are well aware, accommodation for people with diverse disabilities can be and usually is very difficult. Each team had been allocated a host/interpreter a year before the event and our host worked tirelessly to make sure our accommodation was wheelchair accessible and with endless questions/answers via emails we were housed at a very suitable hotel which met our every requirement.
Mrs Nadine Mather-Brown, 2011 Team Leader