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Athletes spread the message of inclusion

18 December 2023

Australia’s top athletes took time out of their busy schedules this month to talk to primary school students about the significance of International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD).

In collaboration with Paralympics Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee, the AIS Community Partnerships program saw Paralympians Imalia Oktrininda and Tasmin Colley along with Olympians Nick Timmings and Madii Himbury visit primary schools across NSW.

Himbury and Oktrininda with three Wilkins primary students.
Oktrininda (left) and Himbury (right) deliver talk at Wilkins Public School in Marrickville, NSW.

Paralympic archer Oktrininda spoke to the students at Wilkins Public School about how she grew up learning to do things differently and said the quality of the questions from students has stuck with her, with one student asking if she had experienced discrimination.

“I think that reflects how much the students understand the importance to be kind with each other,” Oktrininda said.

This year’s IDPwD theme ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ asks everyone to work together to make the world better and fairer for people with disability.

For Oktrininda this means “an equity of resources, and more opportunities for people with disabilities.”

Big group shot with Timmings and Tamsin sitting in the middle.
Colley and Timmings (L-R front row) spoke to students at Newington Public School in Newington,NSW.

Skeleton athlete Timmings spoke to students at Newington Primary School about how he got into his sport.

“When I first started and went to the initial testing day, I had a lot of doubt and fear that I wasn’t going to be good enough and what would others think of me,” the Winter Olympian said

“I tried to convey to the kids that everyone goes through fears like this and if they see someone who may be a little scared to get involved they should  help them feel included and comfortable.”

The AIS Community Partnerships program connects high performance athletes with community organisations around the country and offers a wide range of meaningful engagements outside of their sport career.

Visit the Community Partnership Program webpage to learn more about the program.

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