Social inclusion using sport as the medium

By Michael Thomson

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Michael Thomson is the project manager for Sports Inclusion Australia and writes about the unique competition for elite athletes with intellectual disabilities and the pathways to international competitions. Through partnerships with mainstream sporting clubs, athletes with intellectual disabilities are able to compete at the international level thanks to a new set of disability classifications.

‘Through being welcomed into community sporting clubs, athletes not only have the opportunity to participate and socialise like every other club member, but the benefits from sport have a more profound effect. Sport provides positive life skills, self-esteem, acceptance and a shared passion which allows athletes with a disability to flourish and grow, and – more importantly for the wider community – breaks down barriers.’

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