Creating broader opportunities for swimmers with Down syndrome in Australia is set to grow under the guidance of Sport Inclusion Australia, who for 35 years have committed to sport inclusion for all.
Down Syndrome Swimming Australia (DSSA) announced to members the organisation’s transition to Sports Inclusion Australia (SIA), and it comes at a time when many of Australia’s National and State Sport Organisations are opening up to collaborate to ensure sport is delivered in an inclusive environment.
This is a result of the recent establishment of the new Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD), which is supported and funded by Sport Australia. The Alliance members are driven by a shared purpose to collaborate, advocate and facilitate inclusive sport and physical activity for people with a disability.
To ensure the success of the DSSA transition to Sport Inclusion Australia, a committee is formed with representatives of the previous DSSA board, Swimming Australia, Down Syndrome Australia and SIA staff. A key objective of the committee is to build inclusive initiatives with the aim to have more people with Down syndrome participating in sport.
“We are excited to see the development of these partnerships within sport working towards building a more inclusive society and importantly the participation of people with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Australia is pleased to play its part in promoting these opportunities and inclusive messages through our networks.” Angus Graham Chair Down Syndrome Australia.
In 2017, SIA’s international partner Virtus, the International Sport Federation for Athletes with an Intellectual Impairment, introduced two new groups for athletes with Autism (II-3) and for athletes with additional physical conditions (II-2) The II-2 group has a focus on athletes with Down syndrome. The introduction of this pathway in Virtus provides an additional international pathway for swimmers with Down syndrome. A highlight of this initial work was the participation and success of swimmers with Down syndrome at the 2019 Global Games in Brisbane.
DSSA was formed in 2007 to promote the participation of people with Down syndrome in swimming providing a pathway to National and International competition. Working collaboratively with SIA since its inception DSSA has facilitated the growth of Australian swimmers with Down syndrome on to the international stage where they have been recognised as the Champion Male and Female athletes and Champion team at World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships since 2004.
DSSA conducted its first National Championship in 2011 and this event continues to be conducted every 2 years with increased participation.
“DSSA’s achievements in such a short period of time have been amazing, our swimmers established themselves as the world’s best on numerous occasions. In 2019 they were an integral part of the success of the Australian team competing at the 2019 Virtus Global Games in Brisbane. We look forward to building on these achievements and working with our partners, Swimming Australia, Down Syndrome Queensland, Down Syndrome Australia and School Sport to build the capacity and participation of swimmers with Down syndrome across all levels,” said Robyn Smith, CEO Sport inclusion Australia.
Sport Inclusion Australia has a vision that ‘sport owns sport for all Australians’ and that the local club being the foundation for sport to build social inclusion and connectiveness in the community.
This week the committee have announced a series of swim clinics to be held in Queensland through July August and September.
Robyn Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
CEO Sport Inclusion Australia
DSSA swimming clinics: email@example.com