Vanuatu Para-athletes train in preparation for Pacific Mini Games
Last month, twelve para-athletes participated in a five-day training camp in Santo, facilitated by Australian volunteer, Jessica Richardson, and with the support of the Sanma Frangipani Association. This training camp was initiated by the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee (VPC), and was supported by VASANOC, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (MYSD) and Van2017.
The camp was a revelation for the twelve para-athlete participants. The daily sessions were a combination of learning new skills, hard work and a lot of laughter as all participants revelled in this new experience. The opportunity to train in events such as shot put, javelin and the 100m sprint served to underpin each athlete’s desire to represent Vanuatu and participate in the Games. For most of the participants, this will be their first opportunity to compete in an international competition.
The training included fitness development sessions with a suitable circuit routine fitted to accommodate the varying requirements of each para-athlete. The group also discussed the importance of Olympic values, commitment to training and having a healthy diet.
Daily skills and technical sessions were possible thanks to the provision of new equipment from VPC through funding from VASANOC, MYSD and Van2017. The equipment will remain with Sanma Frangipani Association for the athletes to continue to train in the lead up to the Games and for future competitions, such as the Commonwealth Games hosted on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia between 4-15 April 2018.
“I am always inspired by the resilience and dedication the para-athletes show in their preparation for the Pacific Mini Games. Knowing the challenges and barriers these athletes have overcome emphasises the role models they are to both able bodied athletes and athletes with special needs. I am incredibly proud of the achievements these athletes have already accomplished and I can’t wait to support them in their journey to represent Vanuatu in the Games,” said Australian volunteer, Jessica Richardson.
Richardson is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) program. She works with the Vanuatu Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) to look at inclusion and equity in sport programs – growing access and participation in sport for women and those living with a disability.