Sunshine Coast Athletes set to join Australian team at INAS Global Games
Three young swimmers with an intellectual impairment from the Sunshine Coast will join their teammates in the green and gold to represent Australia next week at the 5th INAS Global Games. Liam Schluter, Sarah Wallace and Liam Bailey Rose were presented with their official Australian team uniforms today by their local Federal Member Andrew Wallace, and Commonwealth Representative for the 2032 Olympic Games Bid Ted O’Brien at a celebration at Kawana Aquatic Centre.
Mr Wallace, whose daughter Sarah is one of the three swimmers, said that the Sunshine Coast should be very proud of its young sporting stars.
“Time and again Australia has proven to the world that in the area of sports for those with an intellectual disability Australia is very much at the top of the leader tally and we are very proud of our competitors who are coming from the Sunshine Coast.” Mr Wallace said.
“As Sarah’s father I know firsthand how much commitment it takes. Sarah’s up every morning at 4am, hitting the pool and training to be her best. Whether they are able bodied or live with a disability, every athlete who wears the green and gold has worked damn hard to get there and we as a community are so very proud of them.” he said.
The INAS Global Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. In addition to Swimming, Athletes will compete in Athletics, Basketball, Cricket, Cycling, Futsal, Rowing, Table Tennis, Taekwondo and Tennis. The competition runs from Saturday 12 October to Saturday 19 October.
Commonwealth Representative for the 2032 Olympic Games Ted O’Brien said “It’s always a good day to be an Australian but it’s especially great when you see young Australian Athletes ready to represent their country.”
“This event is an important one, and it is part of the global Paralympic movement. Australia puts forward its very best and it should be no surprise that amongst our best are athletes from the Sunny Coast. Yet again we see our para-athletes take the world by storm and we are looking forward to a terrific competition in Brisbane. This competition will showcase not just the best of Australia, but will represent what Brisbane and South East Queensland has to offer the broader Olympic movement.” Mr O’Brien said.
Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist and Paralympian Liam Schluter is no stranger to international competition. In addition to his successes on the Gold Coast and at Rio, 20 year old Liam won a Bronze medal at World Para Swimming Championships in London in 2019.
The freestyle specialist said “I’m very excited. I’ve been waiting four years for this to come around and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a lot of time and effort getting here. I do eight sessions in the pool and three gym sessions every week, but there’s nothing better than putting on this green and gold uniform and representing Australia. It’s amazing.”
Sunshine Coast native Sarah Wallace has wanted to become a Paralympian since the age of six. She completed her first Age Nationals in 2016 and won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at her first international competition earlier this year. Joining an official Australian team for the first time Sarah will be competing in 7 events at the INAS Global Games, including breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle races.
17 year old Sarah said “It’s pretty exciting. It’s my first time representing Australia so that’s pretty cool. I am aiming to have a good experience representing Australia for the first time, but I am particularly looking forward to the 50m Breaststroke. I like sprints and breaststroke is my best stroke.”
The Games are particularly special for Liam Bailey Rose who at just 14 years old is taking part in his very first international competition.
Liam Bailey, who is determined to take part in all of the available events in the II3 (High functioning Autism) category, said “I am looking forward to swimming and representing Australia. It’s nerve-wracking. You get a lot of attention!”.
After finishing top of the medal tally in three of the four INAS Global Games to date, in 2019 it is Australia’s turn to host the event in Brisbane. Approximately 850 athletes from 48 countries will take part in this fifth INAS Global Games.
Mr Wallace and Mr O’Brien presented the athletes with their team uniform, including tracksuit, polo and t-shirts, caps and hats, shorts, competition clothing and sports bags.