The Vanuatu Paralympic Committee is looking for new parathletes in track and field – running, javelin and shotput for a team to go to the Arafura Games in April 2019.
“We have been told by Oceania Paralympic Committee and the AGITOS Foundation who are fully funding the expenses of the five athletes, a coach and an official to go to the Games, that because there will be classification opportunities before the Games start, we need to identify new talent, take them to the Games, have them classified and then compete,” explains Margaret Macfarlane, President of the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee.
Talent Identification Days will be held in Luganville at Chapuis from 9am to 12 Monday, 19th November and in Lakatoro from 9am to 12 noon on Wednesday, 21st November at the Provincial Stadium.
Jean Noel Anis who works for Wan Smol Bag Theatre as Sports Development Officer explains further, “We really need to find volunteer coaches too. We can’t pay them a salary at the moment as we have very little funding but we can give them opportunities to go overseas with para teams and to go to international coaching workshops. Look at VPC coaches Deni Kalenga from Ecole Central and Timothy Loughman from Isangel. They have been to Tokyo, Paris, Fiji, the Commonwealth Games in Australia and now are going to Fiji in December, then Tokyo in February to be ready for the 2020 Paralympic Games. I’ve just returned from Fiji where I did my next level OSEP coaches training”.
They are trying to find new parathletes in 100 metre, 200 metre running as well as shot put and javelin.
The VPC will provide bus fares for local bus travel, drinks and lunch for young people with disability who come along to try. There are competitions in Australia, Dubai and Samoa in 2019 and new talent is needed.
“In addition we are hoping to meet with local disability advocacy groups, provincial government officers, and TVET Centre staff to investigate opportunities for a well-supported sports program for parathletes. With support from the Carbine Club, Kiwanis and the Australian High Commission’s Direct Assistance Program (DAP) we can undertake these two provincial visits + we have some equipment we can leave for further training,” explains VPC President Macfarlane.
Remember the story of Friana Kwevira who came to a Talent ID Day in May 2017 and went on to win a Bronze Medal in the Commonwealth Games? It could be you standing on that podium, representing Vanuatu and showing other people living with disability that dreams can come true!