A group of dignitaries and athletes pose for a group shot for the 2019 Global Games

Countdown to 2019 Global Games is on

By the Global Games Sports Company

The countdown to the 2019 International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games in Brisbane, Australia, began on Thursday (12 October) with organisers making a series of announcements.

The Global Games Sports Company (GGSC) and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which both organisations will share knowledge before, during and after the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.

The leadership teams from both organisations will work together to identify potential legacy projects, initiatives and programmes that benefit each event.

Over the term of the agreement the GGSC will work closely with GOLDOC and their workforce team. They will identify opportunities for volunteers and paid team members to transition or re-engage with the 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games.

“This is a monumental occasion for the area of inclusion and testament to the role sport plays in Australia to provide opportunities and pathways for athletes with an impairment,” said Robyn Smith, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GGSC.

“GOLDOC is committed to ensuring that the 2018 Commonwealth Games leaves a lasting legacy for all Australians on the power of sport to change lives. We are delighted to be working with the Global Games Sports Company in sharing information to assist the delivery of the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games – Brisbane 2019,” Mark Peters, CEO of GOLDOC, said.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place on 4-15 April. It will be the largest sporting event in Australia since the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are excited to bring the Games to Brisbane and to work with the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council, to deliver the best Games ever. Australia did it in Sydney in 2000 and we have no doubt with the support of the Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council and the State and national sporting organisations and over 300 volunteers that we will do it again here in Brisbane in 2019.” Smith concluded.

As part of a celebration held in Brisbane, Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier Jennifer Howard MP, officially launched the countdown.

“The Queensland Government is proud to be the presenting partner of the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games – Brisbane 2019, and I have no doubt Brisbane will be an amazing host city for this international event,” Howard said. “The Games will be a week-long Championship, celebrating ability and promoting the power of sport to achieve social cohesion.

“Athletes will compete across nine internationally sanctioned sports including: athletics, basketball, cycling, futsal, rowing, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, and tennis as well as a number of demonstration sports in many of Brisbane’s world class venues.

“This is such a wonderful legacy event following the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.”

Along the way organisers hope to use the Games to challenge perceptions, change attitudes and strengthen communities locally and globally. This will leave a lasting legacy for the people of Brisbane, Queensland and Australia of the power of sport to break down barriers and create social inclusion.

Howard said the Queensland Government was committed to ensuring people with impairments could live the life they choose:

“We want to create a better future by driving the changes we need to ensure our State is more inclusive and that people with disability can participate fully in all aspects of our communities.”

The GGSC rounded off their celebrations by announcing the Accor hotels will be the Official Provider of Accommodation for the 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games.

Matthew Young, Vice President Operations Accor Hotels, commented, “We are delighted and honoured at our appointment as the official accommodation provider for this major international sporting event. Accor Hotels is committed to continuing to use our considerable experience and expertise in the accommodation services sector to support the Global Games Sports Company to deliver a first class event for the 1,000’s of visitors to Brisbane in 2019.”

Accor Hotels that will provide accommodation during the Global Games include Sofitel Brisbane Central, Pullman and Mercure Brisbane King George Square, Quay West Suites Brisbane, The Sebel Brisbane, Novotel Brisbane, Novotel Brisbane Southbank, Mercure Brisbane, Ibis Brisbane and Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth street.

The 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games will see more than 1,000 of the world’s best athletes with an intellectual impairment compete across nine sports at some of Brisbane’s iconic international sporting venues.

In addition organisers will also showcase the sports of netball, Australian rules football, cricket and hockey. Demonstrations were held in Brisbane’s King George Square on Thursday, allowing members of the public to try some of the sports for themselves.


An intellectually impaired runner

Global Games were important stepping stone for Martins

Brazil’s Paralympic and world champion Daniel Martins has spoken of how the 2015 International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games helped him on the road to claiming gold at Rio 2016.

In two years’ time, hundreds of athletes with intellectual impairments will travel to Brisbane, Australia, for the 2019 Global Games. They will be hoping that the event can have a similar impact for them as it did for Martins when he made his international debut there in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

“At the Global Games, I was able to study my adversaries for the next year,” Martins said. “So it helped a lot in terms of getting to know them beforehand. My coach was able to see my running and was able to correct any mistake during the race. So, I could get better at that time.”

Martins won multiple gold medals in Guayaquil, including wins in the 100m and 400m. But it was also important preparation for what has become a successful international career.

“It was a lot of fun, because I went to another country for the first time, was able to see another culture and could win five medals there,” he said.

Just one month after Guayaquil 2015 he made his World Para Athletics Championships debut in Doha, Qatar, and claimed his first world title in the 400m T20.

Then a year later Martins stormed to gold in a new world record time of 47.22 seconds at his home Paralympic Games. In 2017 he competed at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, Great Britain, where he defended his title.

“People now recognise me in the streets!” Martins said when asked how his life has changed. “I also feel like my family is prouder of me now.”

Martins is just 21-years-old and has a promising career ahead of him. This includes the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, but he is not taking anything for granted.

“I want to go strong for Tokyo but I have to think one step at a time,” Martins said. “I still have three years and a lot of competitions to come before 2020.”

His idol is Brazilian Olympian João da Barreira, who comes from Marilla in Sao Paulo – the same city as Martins. The youngster is grateful to have had the opportunity to train with da Barreira as well as make a wider difference to society through sport.

“I could do so many things… A lot of friends, could go to many places in the world and overcome the prejudice as a person with an impairment,” he said.

The 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games will gather more than 1,000 athletes competing in nine sports between 12-20 October. It will be the world’s biggest gathering of athletes with an intellectual impairment.

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 people with intellectual impairments in society without your support.

We are a registered charity and your help can make a big difference. Find out more


Grant and scholarships awarded to next generation of Australian athletes

A group of people at a presentation

Recipients of the Next Generation Athlete programme grants and scholarships with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Lady Mayoress Anne Quirk and Robyn Smith CEO Sport Inclusion Australia.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Lady Mayoress Anne Quirk of Brisbane, Australia, announced Next Generation Athlete grants and scholarships to 17 local athletes at a reception held at the Town Hall on Tuesday (25 July).

The fourth round of the programme is intended to help athletes realise their sporting dreams and is supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust. It could also assist in their preparation for the 2019 International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games, which are being held in the Australian city.

“Over the last 50 years the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust has improved the wellbeing of the most marginalised and vulnerable members of our community. I would like to congratulate all recipients today and take this opportunity to thank Sport Inclusion Australia for their hard work and dedication to facilitate inclusiveness in all sports across the Brisbane community. It is our pleasure to make a positive difference in the lives of these young athletes,” Quirk, who is also an World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games Patron, said.

Inspired by fellow Brisbane resident and world welterweight boxing champion Jeff Horn, the Lord Mayor also provided some encouraging words to athletes: “Follow your dream to be the best that you can be in your sporting endeavours.”

Athletes acknowledged the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust and the importance of the grants in helping them meet the costs of training, equipment and competition as they strive to reach their potential.

Grants and scholarships were awarded to athletes across athletics, cricket, indoor cricket, netball, swimming and tennis.

“Sport Inclusion Australia is delighted to have developed the Next Generation Athlete programme with the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust. The Next Generation Athlete programme is an innovative way of identifying and supporting young athletes with an intellectual impairment in the Brisbane metropolitan region on their athletic pathway. It will assist aspiring young athletes with the help of state sporting organisations and Queensland school sport to provide an opportunity to compete at local, state, national and international level and if possible the 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games here in Brisbane,” Robyn Smith, Chief Executive of Sport Inclusion Australia, said.

The presentation also provided an opportunity to release the latest Next Generation Athlete promotional video highlighting stories of current scholarship holders. Jack Ireland (swimming), Yasmin Sanders (tennis), Mac Russell (rowing) and Alberto Campbell-Staines (athletics) have all benefitted from the project.

World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games Ambassador and Paralympic medallist swimmer Daniel Fox was also in attendance.

The next round will open in December 2017 with grants and scholarships to be awarded in 2018.

Grant recipients
Alex Baker (tennis)
Haydn Brumm (cricket)
Thomas Burrows (athletics)
Harry Cahill (swimming)
Jennifer Collins (netball)
Summer Dullaway (swimming)
Caitlin Kerby (swimming)
Shane Kuilboer (indoor cricket)
Lisa Lenton (netball)
Shaun McKee (indoor cricket)
Patrick O’Brien (swimming)
Ashley-Kate Schlenner (swimming)
Chelsea Stebbing (swimming)
Brett Wilson (cricket)
Aaron Wood (cricket)

Yasmin Sanders (tennis)
Bailey Stewart (swimming)

The 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games will gather more than 1,000 athletes from around the world to compete in nine sports between 9-20 October.

Australia helps spread inclusive sport in China ahead of World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games

By Sport Inclusion Australia and World Intellectual Impairment Sport

Sport Inclusion Australia, the organisers of the 2019 International Federation for Intellectual Disability Sport (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games, have been helping to grow inclusive sport in China.

Working closely with the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs through its Asian Sports Partnership (ASP) and the Brisbane City Council, where the 2019 Global Games will be hosted, organisers delivered a week of basketball training in May.

More than twelve months in the making, the project came to fruition when Australian Basketball representative, Kelly Bowen, gave training to young students and teachers at the Yuanping Special School in Shenzhen.

Bowen, who is a member of the Australian 3 v 3 women’s basketball team, will also deliver more sessions in the future.

China has huge untapped potential; none of the athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games had an intellectual impairment and the number who currently participate in World Intellectual Impairment Sport events is low.

Sport Inclusion Australia Chief Executive Officer, Robyn Smith, visited the country in March 2017 to meet with the education hierarchy of the Shenzhen Foreign Affairs Office, key staff at the Yuanping Special School and the Chinese Paralympic Committee.

Smith was stunned by the facilities, numbers of students and willingness of the Chinese authorities to participate in the programme:  “Australian schools and sporting organisations would be amazed at the facilities available here at a special school for over 1,500 students with a disability. There are over 1,000 special schools across China with millions of students with an intellectual disability.”  

Further opportunities for the Global Games, which gathers hundreds of athletes to compete in nine sports, and World Intellectual Impairment Sport have also been discovered.

“It is clear that China is very supportive of students with an intellectual disability, but their participation in the Paralympics and World Intellectual Impairment Sport events has been restricted due to lack of accessible eligibility processes.” Smith said. “If we [World Intellectual Impairment Sport] want to expand into non-English speaking countries we need to be open to change and ensure that the process is open and translated in multiple languages.”  

With the coaching and education programme now underway and in the capable hands of Bowen, Smith will now focus on ensuring that the eligibility process is made available to the Chinese in her role as Vice President of World Intellectual Impairment Sport.  

One of highlights of the ASP project has been Sport Inclusion Australia’s ability to bring together a number of stakeholders to maximise the effectiveness and mutual benefit to all involved.  

The Brisbane City Council, in particular the Lord Mayor’s Office, has played a large role through engaging the Foreign Affairs Office and Mayor of Shenzhen, which ensured the project had credibility.   

Sport Inclusion Australia plans to develop a relationship and inclusive opportunities in China, in particular the city of Shenzhen, a sister city to Brisbane.

The project will work with the Yuanping Special School and the Shenzhen Leopards national basketball club to enhance the skills of the children with an impairment in the sport. It also aims to build the capacity of local coaches and clubs to be fully inclusive and ensure these initiatives are sustainable.   

Once a successful model is developed it will be expanded to include other sports and has the potential to reach 1,000 special schools across China.  

Sport Inclusion Australia will also work with the Chinese Paralympic Committee to discuss the possibility of starting a high performance programme for those more talented athletes, to ensure there is a pathway through to World Intellectual Impairment Sport events and the 2019 Global Games.