Sydney’s Academy of Sport and Recreation at Narrabeen was awash with rainbow flags and sequins on Sunday, December 5 in celebration of inclusion, diversity, and accessibility, as Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT (WSNSW/ACT) celebrated its inaugural Rolling Rainbow Sports Day. 

Speaking with WSNSW/ACT’s Jemma Thorp, Sports Coordinator, Sydney Metro and Illawarra, it was clear that the event was an overwhelming success. 

As Thorp explained, “You never know when you launch something new how it is going to be received, but [the feedback we have received from participants] goes to show how ingrained inclusion is in this community and how much people strive for inclusion across the board. … People were so excited to have an event like this under our association.” 

Promoting LGBTQI Inclusion in Wheelchair Sports

Inclusion is key to everything that WSNSW/ACT does, and to their vision that “everybody gets picked to play.” WSNSW/ ACT’s Rolling Rainbow Sports Day is just one element of the organisation’s broader commitment to promoting LGBTQI inclusion in wheelchair sports.

Its Rolling Rainbow Program, launched in October, will involve an initial review of internal policies, communications, and events, and is highly consultative and collaborative, drawing upon the knowledge and experience of the best and brightest in the LGBTQI inclusion space.

WSNSW/ACT have already forged relationships with Queer Sporting Alliance, Northern Beaches Roller Derby, and the Newtown Breakaways, all of whom took part in and contributed to the Rolling Rainbow Sport Day’s success. 

Thorp says, “We want to see more people who don’t have access to sport currently having access to sport. And that can come down to so many things. … We really want people to understand the value of wheelchair sport and inclusive sport, whether that is pride or LGBTQI+ sport, female sport, or disability sport.” 

Wheelchair Rugby, Tennis, Basketball and AFL

The day saw two hours of sports rotations, featuring wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair AFL. As Thorp described, “we pretty much made everyone jump in right off the bat and have a go, which was really great fun.” These rotations were followed by some lunch, wheelchair roller derby, and a wheelchair drag race engineered by the one-and-only Wonder Mama, who joined in the day’s activities. 

Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT is a not-for-profit state sporting organisation, running eight wheelchair sports across the state and territory, from grassroots through to elite. Whether you have been considering wheelchair AFL, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair track and road, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, frame running, disability lawn bowls, or para-powerlifting, Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT has a program or event for you. 

Get involved and connect at their website.

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