Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Athletics carnival for children with a disability

Over 800 children from 33 schools participated in the 24th annual Gold Coast Cabs Invitational Athletics Championships for children with a disability on September 9.

The carnival was held at Griffith University on the Gold Coast and is the only one of its kind that allows children with disabilities to compete at a competitive level.

Premier Anna Bligh handed out awards. Photo by David Clark

Premier Anna Bligh handed out awards. Photo by David Clark

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh opened the event.

“[I] could not have been more honoured to be a part of the activity, which plays such an important part for these children who rarely have the chance to compete at a competitive level,” said Premier Bligh.

“They’re a great inspiration to all of us. I congratulate all the schools for their involvement.

“These children approach life with enthusiasm and joy for it, and to watch them participating in the opening ceremony and them competing in this special sports carnival is inspirational.”

Gold Coast Cabs chief executive Martin O’Riordan said the company is so happy it can support such a wonderful and worthwhile event.

“You only need to look at the smiling faces to know it is worthwhile,” he said.

Event organiser Anna-Louise Kassulke, from Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Inc has been active in making this event a success since the beginning.

“For a lot of young people it’s about confidence and self esteem,” she said

“I think it’s just that great sense of achievement on a day like today…It’s their time to shine.”

The carnival has been a fast growing event, starting off with three special schools and 80 students.

“We actually had a school ring this week to see if they could be part of the event. Every year there are new schools wanting to join,” Ms Kassulke said.

Students that participated in the carnival thought it is really worthwhile.

“It’s not so much about the winning…It’s about the fun,” said one participant.

“I came last year and it was really fun. You’ve got to try as hard as you can and…just have fun,” said another student.

Over 400 events were run throughout the day such as long jump, sprints, shot put and wheelchair events.

Many students and 42 staff members from the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE, Guardian Angels School and Emmanuel College volunteered to make the day a success.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Ms Kassulke said.

Next year’s event will mark the 25th anniversary of the carnival.