Firstly I would like to say how grateful I am at having the opportunity to be a member of Abilympics WA, formally Australia for 23 years.
This year, I competed in the 10th International Abilympics in Metz, France.
This being my 5th International Abilympics. I joined Abilympics Australia in 2000, I had been studying Art and Design at TAFE and qualified to attend competing in Pottery Sculpture. This event was held in Prague, Czech Republic, 2000. I was excited, this was my first trip overseas, wow, what an eye opener to the competition, meeting other participants from many countries with challenging disabilities. I have remained friends with some for many years, and it has always been lovely to meet up with them again at the next event. Also, I found the different cultures and architecture in many places very interesting, as previously I had only experienced here in Australia.
This trip opened my mind to travel, what is on the other side, especially as a wheelchair user. Endless possibilities.
After Prague came New Delhi, India in 2003, then Seoul, South Korea in 2011 – Bordeaux, France, 2016 and Metz, France 2023.
I competed in Outdoor Photography in all these events, receiving a medal “achievement of excellence” with a score of 86% in 2016.
Abilympics is a great opportunity to experience and compete in a range of work skills against people with various disabilities from other countries. At the same time, gaining new life experiences, meeting new friends, learning from others and team bonding and building.
I would recommend anybody with a disability and a trade or skill that meets the criteria to give the next International Abilympics a go.
Get yourself out there, especially young adults, you have so much to gain.