Progress in Australia for swimmers with Down’s syndrome

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By Sport Inclusion Australia and World Intellectual Impairment Sport

Sport Inclusion Australia and Down Syndrome Swimming Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to promote opportunities for swimmers with Down’s syndrome.

The partnership follows the trial expansion of the International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) programme to athletes with an intellectual impairment and significant additional impairment (Down’s syndrome) and athletes with high functioning autism. As a member of World Intellectual Impairment Sport, Sport Inclusion Australia is reflecting this change at a national level.

The trial initiated discussions between Sport Inclusion Australia and Down Syndrome Swimming Australia to work in collaboration to ensure better opportunities and resourcing were provided to swimmers.

“We have worked extremely closely with Down Syndrome Swimming Australia since its inception, due to our shared philosophy, so it is extremely exciting to be signing this MOU to ensure that opportunities for swimmers with Down’s syndrome continue to be improved,” said Robyn Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Sport Inclusion Australia.

With a proven record working with sporting organisations to provide opportunities for athletes with an intellectual impairment, and with changes made to expand their charter to include a wider remit, Sport Inclusion Australia will now represent athletes with Down’s syndrome when liaising with National Sporting Organisations.

“We are pleased to formalise our working arrangements with Sport Inclusion Australia, particularly with the World Intellectual Impairment Sport mandate to expand international competition to include our swimmers.” Said Simon Cox, President of Down Syndrome Swimming Australia.

The first World Intellectual Impairment Sport event to include Down’s syndrome as a trial additional eligibility group will be the 2017 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Swimming Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, from 28 November – 3 December.

The 9th Down Syndrome Swimming World Championships will then be held in Canada in July 2018.  Locally the Down Syndrome Swimming Australia short course National Championships will be held in Geelong from the 23-24 September.

Formerly known as AUSRAPID, Sport Inclusion Australia was established in 1986 to provide opportunities for people with integration difficulties, primarily intellectual disability. Their vision is “community inclusion through sport”.

Working closely with National Sporting Organisations, Sport Inclusion Australia has been instrumental in ensuring that people with an intellectual impairment have opportunities to participate in the sport of their choice. Through their work with the Australian Paralympic Committee and World Intellectual Impairment Sport, athletes also have an elite competition pathway should they choose.

Previously Down Syndrome Swimming Down Under, Down Syndrome Swimming Australia was formed in 2004 to enable swimmers to compete in quality international competition.

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The International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) represents more than 300,000 athletes with intellectual impairments around the world. We give elite athletes the chance to compete at an international level and on the Paralympic stage. But we cannot continue our work towards the inclusion of the world’s biggest impairment group in sport and society without your support.

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