Special Olympics Gymnastics Growing in Victoria
Gymnastics Victoria are breaking down barriers for gymnasts with intellectual disabilities by championing Special Olympics Gymnastics and working closely with Special Olympics Australia.
The number of Gymnastics clubs in Victoria offering Special Olympics Gymnastics has quadrupled this year and pathways are being made available for gymnasts with intellectual disabilities with successful competition integration into the 2017 Victorian Gymnastics Championships.
Last month Gymnastics Victoria held the Men’s and Women’s Victorian Gymnastics Championships and Special Olympics Gymnasts were included as part of the competition for the first time. Fifteen Special Olympics Gymnasts competed alongside other male and female gymnasts with much encouragement and support from everyone on the floor and in the audience.
Including Special Olympics Gymnastics into the Victorian Championships has been regarded as an overwhelming success and is something Gymnastics Victoria will continue to champion in the future.
The Victorian Championships now provide a step in the Special Olympics Gymnastics pathway, acting as a qualifying event for the Special Olympics National Championships which can also lead to the Special Olympics World Games.
By working with Special Olympics Australia, Gymnastics Victoria have developed a Special Olympics Gymnastics workshop which has been delivered to 10 clubs and has played an integral role in seeing the number of clubs in Victoria offering Special Olympics Gymnastics grow from 3 to 12 clubs. Gymnastics Australia will be adopting and rolling this workshop out in all other states to influence the national number of clubs offering Special Olympics Gymnastics.
To further help the sport grow, Gymnastics have developed a joint membership structure for Special Olympics Gymnasts which encourages more participation, more often. Relationships have also been formed between specialist schools and local gymnastics centres to make access to the sport easier for families of children with disabilities.
Gymnastics Victoria are proud of everything they have been able to achieve with Special Olympics Australia and will continue to work to build Special Olympics Gymnastics for the benefit of gymnasts with intellectual disabilities nationally.