Perth’s Paralympic power

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are underway, highlighting the achievements of athletes with disabilities from around the world.

There are a record number of participants, with more than 4500 athletes involved in a wide range of sports including goalball, para powerlifting, and wheelchair basketball.

Located in Mirrabooka, Rebound WA provides sport and recreation activities for people with disabilities at a grassroots level, helping them progress in their sport of choice and providing them with greater opportunities.

Marketing coordinator Aaron Choo says there’s still too many people living with disability who are not yet involved with sport and recreation.

“They’re hidden everywhere,” Mr Choo says.

“Recently we’ve found people in universities who are very keen to see what’s available for them.”

Aaron Choo speaks about Rebound WA’s involvement with the disability community in Perth. Video: Duncan Bailey.

Programs coordinator Hayden Louis says the organisation’s mission is to get individuals involved in sport, whether they were born with a disability or if it was acquired.

He says the Paralympics provides an opportunity for people who have worked hard to push themselves and show what they can do.

“It is the pinnacle of a lot of sports people are engaged in.

“For a lot of people who have acquired a disability or grew up with one, they often feel like they’re the odd ones out,” Mr Louis says.

“It’s a big showcase event where they can watch people they can relate to demonstrate advanced skills and athleticism.”

Paralympics statistics. Photo: Duncan Bailey.

Mr Louis says the organisation also works with state sporting associations that create inclusive pathways and greater opportunities in sport.

“There’s a big gap that’s closing to an extent, particularly with some disabled athletes starting to get a lot more recognition,” Mr Louis says.

“Traditionally the Paralympics never got as much coverage but that’s been improving year on year.

“The Paralympics are extremely athletic, which a lot of people don’t realise until they’re exposed to them properly.”

Categories: General, Sport