2017 INAS Swimming Championships Mexico

Sport Inclusion Australia is pleased to announce that the 2017 INAS Swimming Championships will be held in Aguascalientes, Mexico from 27 November to 4 December this year.

Working with Swimming Australia we are calling for Expressions of interest from swimmers interested in representing Australia at the Championships.

We are particularly excited to be able to include Youth swimmers and swimmers with Down syndrome and high functioning Autism for the first time.

For more information please see documents below and or contact Tracy Lawrence via email to: tracy.lawrence@sportinclusionaustralia.org.au

INAS Swimming Championships Info 2017 (.docx)
Qualifying Standards June 2017 (.xlsx)
INAS EOI Form (.docx)

Sport Inclusion Australia spreads its reach to China

Working closely with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs through its Asian Sports Partnership program, Sport Inclusion Australia has been able to spread its reach and importantly create a strong link with key stakeholders in the disability area in China.

More than twelve months in the making, the program to develop opportunities for young students with an intellectual disability came to fruition this week when Australian Basketball representative, Kelly Bowen delivered a week of training for both the students and teachers at the Yuanping Special school in Shenzhen. Bowen a member of the Australian 3 v 3 female basketball side will spend the week working with the students and teachers with more visits planned for the future.

Social inclusion through sport is the philosophy upon which Sport Inclusion Australia, formerly AUSRAPID was established 30 years ago.    It is a proven philosophy with a record for breaking down barriers with the focus on a person’s ability and expanding social interaction and pathways for athletes.  Sport Inclusion Australia plans to develop a relationship and inclusive opportunities in China, in particular the city of Shenzhen, a sister city to Brisbane,  the home of the 2019 INAS Global Games.

The project will work with Yuanping, a special school of over 1500 students and the Shenzhen Leopards, National Basketball club to enhance the basketball skills of the children with a disability, but more importantly to build the capacity of local coaches and clubs to be fully inclusive and ensure these initiatives are sustainable.   Once a successful model is developed it will be expanded to include other sports and has the potential to be expanded to the 1000 other special schools across China.  Sport Inclusion Australia will also work with the Chinese Paralympic Committee to discuss the possibility of commencing a High Performance program for those more talented athletes to ensure there is a pathway through to INAS events and the INAS Global Games in Brisbane 2019.

Sport Inclusion Australia CEO Robyn Smith visited China back in March to meet with Education hierarchy of the Shenzhen Foreign Affairs Office, key staff at the Yuanping Special School and the Chinese Paralympic Committee, and was stunned at the facilities, numbers of students and willingness of the Chinese authorities to participate in the program.  “Australian schools and sporting organisations would be amazed at the facilities available here at a special school for over 1500 students with a disability, Smith said.  “There are over 1000 special schools across China with millions of students with an intellectual disability.”  Smith said.

The program has quickly identified further opportunities for the Global Games and INAS.  “It is clear that China is very supportive of students with an intellectual disability, but their participation in the Paralympics and INAS events has been restricted due to lack of accessible eligibility processes.” Smith said.  All eligibility processes must be conducted in English, and this has clearly been a stumbling block for the Chinese.  “If we want to expand into non-english speaking countries we need to be open to change and ensure that the process is open and translated in multiple languages.”  Smith said.  With the coaching and education program now underway and in the capable hands of Bowen, Smith will now focus on ensuring that the eligibility process is made available to the Chinese in her role as Vice President of INAS.

China dominated the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but didn’t have one representative with an intellectual disability in their team.   While this program is focussed on developing opportunities for young students, both female and male, it also has the capacity to develop pathways for millions of students/athletes in China into events conducted by INAS (The International Sporting Federation for athletes with an intellectual disability) and to the Paralympic pathway.   More immediately with the Global Games in Brisbane in 2019, the participation of China is now a reality.


For further information please contact:

Robyn Smith, CEO
Sport Inclusion Australia Inc.
T: +61 3 5762 7494
M: 0418 979 459
E: robyn.smith@sportinclusionaustralia.org.au

Call for Athletes for 2017 SU-DS Championships in Portugal

Sport Inclusion Australia are working with the International Sports Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SU-DS), with the aim of taking a team of athletes to the 2017 SU-DS Championships in Portugal in October.

The Championships will include Athletics, Table Tennis, Judo and Basketball (3×3).

While our focus for the Championships is to get an Athletics team together we are interested in hearing from athletes and coaches who would like to support this initiative across the above sports.

For further enquiries please contact Michael on 03 5762 7494

Download the Expression of Interest Form here

2017 INAS Athletics Team announced for Championships in Bangkok

Sport Inclusion Australia today announced the Athletics team to represent Australia at the 2017 INAS Athletics Championships in Bangkok, Thailand from 12-19 May.

The team of 20 athletes includes 12 athletes competing at their first INAS Championships alongside 2011 silver medallist Stephanie Schweitzer and 2013 Bronze medallist Alberto Campbell. Schweitzer who made her International debut in 2007 at the age of 15 will be competing at her 4th INAS Athletics Championships. Schweitzer winning a Silver medal in Italy in 2011 in the 100m event.

This is the first INAS Athletics Championships to be held in Asia, and a great lead up event for the INAS Global Games to be held in Brisbane in 2019.

“It is pleasing to see so many athletes selected to represent Australia at these Championships, particularly the large number of new athletes which bodes well for the Global Games in Brisbane in 2019” said Sport Inclusion Australia and Global Games Sports company CEO Robyn Smith.

New athletes include Victoria’s Jessica Venner, Caytlyn Sharp, Aaron Bird, Kirstie Newcombe; NSW’s Jack Connors, Rosemary Boyland, Lleyton Lloyd and Brittney Bielby; Queensland’s Joshua Lush, and Corey Anderson; and South Australia’s Nathan Wood and Timon Sideris.

Team Manager Brett Watton is excited to see so many new emerging athletes, “many of the new athletes announced themselves with outstanding performances at the Australian All Schools Championships last December and have continued to perform within their state competitions.” Watton said. “There are several athletes that we are still considering for selection and may be added to the team in the coming weeks which might make this the largest team to represent Australia at an INAS Athletics Championships” Watton added.

The team will depart for Thailand on the 12th of May.

100m Lindsey Hendy (QLD), Nathan Wood (SA)
200m Lindsey Hendy (QLD), Alberto Campbell (QLD)
400m Alberto Campbell (QLD), Drew Semmens (VIC), Tim Foster (NSW)
800m Paul Gilbert (WA), Drew Semmens (VIC)
1500m Paul Gilbert (WA), Kyle McIntosh (NSW)
5000m Kyle McIntosh (NSW), Timon Sideris (SA), Aaron Bird (VIC)
10,000m Timon Sideris (SA), Aaron Bird (VIC)
Long Jump Lindsey Hendy (QLD), Joshua Lush (QLD)
Triple Jump Joshua Lush (QLD)
Discus Blake Carr (NSW)
Javelin Corey Anderson (QLD)
Heptathlon Jack Connors (NSW)

100m Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW), Caytlyn Sharp (VIC)
200m Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW), Caytlyn Sharp (VIC), Brittney Bielby (NSW)
400m Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW), Jessica Venner (QLD), Eliesha Byrt (VIC)
800m Jessica Venner (QLD), Eliesha Byrt (VIC
3000m Kirstie Newcombe (VIC)
High Jump Caytlyn Sharp (VIC)
Triple Jump Caytlyn Sharp (VIC)
Shot Put Rosemary Boyland (NSW)

INAS Youth Challenge
Lleyton Lloyd (NSW) Discus and Long Jump

Brett Watton (VIC) Manager
Anula Costa (VIC) Coach
Matt Rawlings (NSW) Coach

INAS Tennis World Championships Australian Team Announcement

The team to represent Australia at the upcoming INAS Tennis World Championships in Bolton, England, has been announced today (Friday 3 February).

The team of 6 players includes World number one Male (1) Archie Graham from Queensland and World Number two Female (2) Kelly Wren from NSW, they will be joined by Mitchell James (QLD), Damian Phillips (NSW), Josh Holloway (QLD) and Carla Lenarduzzi (VIC).

This is the same team that represented Australia at the last World Championships in Delaware, USA, finishing on top of the medal tally with Gold in the Men’s Singles, Doubles, Team, Mixed Doubles; Silver in the Women’s Singles, Doubles and Team; and Bronze in Men’s Singles, team and mixed doubles events.

The team selection comes on the back of the Australian Tennis Championships held in Melbourne last week, which saw record entries and included a team of male players from Great Britain which included former World number one (1) Fabrice Higgins and number three (3) Thomas Mellor.

“The Championships was a great opportunity to gauge how our players are performing, particularly with the participation of the players from Great Britain.” Alison Scott Head Coach said. It was much needed competition for the Australians, particularly in the doubles with Archie Graham and Damian Phillips playing off against the Great Britain pairing of Fabrice Higgins and Dominic Iannotti in the final, a match which could be a preview of the World Championship final. The Australian’s winning a close fought match 7-5, 6-4. Graham came up against the former World number 1 Higgins in his quarter final game in the men’s singles, a close fought match won by Graham. Graham finished second in the Singles to South Australia’s Sam Von Einem (5-7, 4-6), a surprise loss for the World Number 1.

Wren heads to England keen to regain her World number 1 ranking, something she lost for the first time in the USA when she finished second in the women’s Singles. Undefeated for 17 years, the World Championship loss for Wren came as a surprise for all and has inspired her to work harder to regain her title and ranking.

“We will head to England confident, as we have once again selected a strong team, however, with some recent surprise results we know anything can happen and our players won’t be taking anything for granted.” Jay Schuback, Team Manager.

“Australia’s success at the INAS Tennis Championships is testimony to the inclusive programs run by Tennis Australia and it’s state member associations. The players are good tennis players and play competitive tennis within their states.” Robyn Smith CEO Sport Inclusion Australia

The team will assemble for a pre-departure camp in Brisbane in April before departing for England. The Championships will be played from the 9th to the 14th of April.

• Jay Schuback (Team manager) 0466 351 434
• Alison Scott (Head Coach) 0405 558 172
• Robyn Smith (CEO Sport Inclusion Australia) 0418 979 459

2017 INAS Athletics Championships, Bangkok Thailand

2017 INAS Athletics Championships, Bangkok Thailand, 12-19 May. Expressions of Interest are called for from athletes and coaches interested in representing Australia at the 2017 INAS Athletics Championships in Bangkok. With the 2019 Brisbane Global Games less than 3 years away, we are keen to assemble as large a team as possible including developing athletes. If you would like to be considered for selection please read the athlete information and selection policy below and complete and return the Expression of Interest form to Michael Thomson: michael.thomson@sportinclusionaustralia.org.au

• Athlete Information
EOI form
Qualifying Standards
Selection Policy

Inspirational Jake is breaking down barriers

This story is about courage, determination, resilience, optimism and an inspiring example of how sport can play a part in including everyone. It is also a reminder that with the right attitude, anything is possible — with or without a disability.

Jake Ballestrino, 25, was born with what he describes as upper limb deficiency or a bilateral deformation of the upper limbs. “I’ve never seen it as a disability, nor have my family, friends and anyone around me,” he says.

“And if in any case I wasn’t included, I would include myself. When growing up if there were kids kicking the footy I would go up to them and join in with the mindset that I may be not be able to mark the ball but I can kick it, and I can probably kick it better than you.”

This positive attitude and determination has driven Jake his whole life and has taken him a long way. He sees sport as a barrier breaker and his passion for it has enabled him to make life-long friends, achieve many great feats and stand alongside against anyone as an equal.

Jake has also been intrigued by the coaching side of sport as he has an interest in how the body works and imparting his knowledge and experience. “I’ve been adapting things my whole life through sport and other areas of my life from the way I brush my teeth to the way I pitch a softball, so coaching and adapting styles and techniques really interests me.”

So when the opportunity came up to coach softball through the Sporting Schools program on behalf of the Werribee Softball Association, Jake jumped to it.

The Sporting Schools program is Australia’s largest school-based participation program. Funded by the Australian Sports Commission, it brings together schools and sports to help get children active in their local communities.

“I’ve really enjoyed delivering the Sporting Schools program, especially the current school I’m coaching this term at St Andrews Primary School in Werribee,” Jake says. “The best thing about it is the children are well behaved and I’ve really enjoyed coaching two students in the group who have a disability.

“Michael is a Sudanese boy who has cerebral palsy, and another student I coach has Floating-Harbor syndrome. With any luck I hope I’ve showed them not to let their disability define who they are, they are more than capable of doing whatever they set their mind to, if that be sport, excellent, if that be something else like computers, excellent, and I hope that I am someone that they can look up to and say if he can do it, why can’t I?”

Jake says he is working on modifying a glove for Michael with a rest to support his fingers. This will enable Michael to wear a glove and partake further in the catching activities.

Teacher Sally-Ann Taylor says Jake was an inspiration. “We’d like to extend our gratitude to Jake for all his assistance with the students at St Andrew’s Primary School and especially the attention given to Michael,” she says.


“Jake inspired all the children he worked with over the last couple of weeks. He taught them a valuable lesson despite his physical disabilities he doesn’t allow it to stop him doing anything.”

DSC00064Jake was born into a softball family with Dad the President, Mum assistant treasurer and siblings all playing at the Pirates Softball Club in Werribee. “The best thing about softball for me is that my whole family are involved,” he says. “On the field I look to my left there is my brother Michael, I look to my right there is my brother Stephen.”

Being part of the Pirates Softball Club has also provided Jake with many memorable experiences and opportunities with making the Werribee under 18s representative side one of many highlights as well as winning this year’s best and fairest award in his team, playing left field and a relief pitcher in the men’s C grade competition. “There is a real sense of belonging, being involved at the club has been fantastic for me, and everyone is very supportive and have allowed me to experience all aspects of the sport.”

Jake’s story is also an example as to why it is important for all clubs to be inclusive. “My advice to all clubs is to include everyone, look past their disability, you don’t know what they are able to achieve unless you give them a go.”

In addition to playing and coaching softball, Jake is also a softball umpire, another opportunity and challenge that he happily accepted from the Pirates.

In between playing, coaching and umpiring softball, Jake’s other passion is table tennis. After starting only four-and-a-half years ago at the Werribee Table Tennis Association with his father, Jake narrowly missed out on making the 2016 Rio Paralympics. After four months of playing he represented Victoria at the Nationals and won a gold medal, which propelled him to the top- ranked position in Australia in the Class 7 division and a spot in the Australian team.

Now, knowing how good he is at table tennis and the opportunities available, Jake is working towards making the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. “If there had been an International class 7s at the regionals last year and I’d won or come second I would be getting ready to go to Rio. I’m definitely now aiming for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and before that the World Championships in 2017.”

And if you thought Jake couldn’t fit anything else in his busy schedule, think again, as Jake is a Graphic Artist having completed an Advanced Diploma in Interactive Digital media, which covers anything you see on a computer from start up to shut down and anything you see on billboards or posters. “I’ve also created booklets and other resources for the sporting clubs I’m involved with, such as a players’ handbook, and I am also working on developing advertising and promotional material for the Pirates Softball Club to attract more juniors into the sport.”

Jake’s final bit of advice to other people in similar circumstances is simple: “Do your best, give everything a try, do what you enjoy and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.”

Article sourced from Softball Australia