“Every four years we are captured by the talent, determination and spirit of our Aussie athletes as they take the world stage. These athletes provide the foundation for the dreams and aspirations of many young sports people as they strive to emulate their heroes."
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Sport Mark Arbib launched the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Challenges earlier this week to encourage Australian children to get active at school.
An initiative of the Australian Government, working in partnership with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Australian Olympic Committee, the programmes will run from 28 May 2012 until the close of the Olympics on 12 August and the Paralympics on 9 September 2012.
The Paralympic Challenge will build on the APC’s highly successful Paralympic Education Programme, which has educated more than 300,000 students about Australian Paralympians, the Paralympic Movement and people with an impairment in general since its launch in 2007.
Prime Minister Gillard said the Olympic and Paralympic Challenges will tap into the spirit of the 2012 London Games, encouraging Australian kids to compete for gold, silver and bronze awards.
“Every four years we are captured by the talent, determination and spirit of our Aussie athletes as they take the world stage,” Prime Minister Gillard said.
“These athletes provide the foundation for the dreams and aspirations of many young sports people as they strive to emulate their heroes.
“We want to take this enthusiasm and use it to get kids out in the fresh air showing the sportsmanship that Australia is rightly renowned for.”
Greg Hartung, President of the Australian Paralympic Committee, said participants in the Paralympic Challenge will receive resources and equipment to help them compete in sports to earn a points score.
The Challenge can be staged over a week, or a term, and can even involve the staging of a mini-Paralympic day, involving guest appearances from Paralympic athletes.
Paralympic swimmer Annabelle Williams is an athlete ambassador for the Paralympic Challenge, joining sprinter Evan O’Hanlon, a fellow Paralympic medallist from the 2008 Beijing Games.
“The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be huge and it is fantastic that Australian schoolchildren will be able to experience the excitement of the Games in an active way by participating in this Challenge,” Williams said.
“Both Evan and I know first-hand how an active lifestyle can impact so positively on your well-being, which is why I am really passionate about helping to promote this worthwhile Challenge.”
Registrations for both challenges will open in April 2012.