Paralympic athletes in the Islands of the Oceania region will be giving a significant boost towards the preparations for the Tokyo Games, thanks to a new initiative by the Australian Government and the Australian Olympic Committee.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, many Pacific athletes are facing significant challenges in completing final training programmes and competing at critical qualifying events. But with the support from the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports programme, Oceania athletes will be able to have the greatest opportunity to realise their Paralympic dreams.
More than 170 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from 11 Pacific nations will benefit from the grant, including the athletes that fly under the banner of the Oceania Paralympic Committee (OPC) benefiting from a number of initiatives.
The OPC will hold two national camps at a value of AU$ 10,000 (EUR 6376) each, in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, all to take place in June and July.
Funding will support a Pre-Games Training Camp in Fiji, prior to departure to Tokyo, worth AU$ 15,000 (EUR 9565) for NPCs who will travel together to Tokyo via Fiji Airways.
And finally, funding will also support Fijian athlete Inosi Bulimairewa, who is based in Australia, to put the finishing touches on his preparations. This will include funding for training fees, transport, gym fees and COVID vaccinations.
The OPC President Paul Bird thanked the Australian government and the AOC for its support to Paralympians from across the region on their journey to Tokyo.
“The Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of sport for people with disabilities, but for so many people across the Oceania region, the Paralympic Games is so much more,” Bird said.
“The Games are symbolic of a life many from the region would never dream possible, particularly with obstacles faced day-to-day such as disability and medical care, transport, the cost of training.
“The funding received today from the Australian government and the Australian Olympic Committee is vital to assist our Pacific Island Paralympians to reach their goals and achieve their best in Tokyo.
“Like all athletes, they have been impacted by the pandemic and this support will ensure they are able to train and prepare for the Games.”