Nothing holds back competitors

NOTHING holds back these competitors.

You didn't have to be a particular age, a certain sex, a specific build or have a championship already under your belt.

No, as long as you loved football, you were a shoe-in.

People with disabilities gathered last week for their tryout for a team to compete at the Festival of Football State Championships, held in Brisbane, on November 7.

Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association and the Frenchville Sports Club hosted the day, providing qualified coaching to the players.

Organiser of the football team, Michael Oxley, said the weekend went extremely well with 16 people with disabilities forming the new team.

Oxley said the tryouts were open to ambulant people with disabilities, the youngest competitor being 10 and the eldest, 40.

“We have players from primary school right through to open,” he said.

“The team is a mixture of players who are experienced such as Jeremy Thorpe and David Pollard, down to new players such as Logan Cronin-Stacey and Brett Butler.”

He said two Australian representative athletes that had retired, Matthew Bell and Kristy Mahon, had now moved to Rockhampton from Brisbane to join the team.

“They have been in athletics for a while and have achieved quite a bit, but now they are going to give football a go,” he said.

Some of the disabilities that the players had include cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities or acquired brain injury.

Oxley said he was happy with the relationship that they had established with the Frenchville Sporting Club who donated their grounds and equipment to the team. “They have provided everything from the field, to a coach and all of the equipment and facilities we need,” he said.

Oxley said that the Festival of Football State Championships was a chance for people with disabilities to be part of a team. “There isn't a lot of team sports for people with disabilities, there are individual athletes but not so much team,” he said.

“From here if they do well, they then go to the State Championships, then they can represent Queensland and then maybe build themselves up to the Paralympics.”



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