Oceania sport is transforming to become truly inclusive as the partnership between the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and the Oceania Paralympic Committee (OPC) inspires new commitments from both parties.
In a landmark statement, Paul Bird, President of the Oceania Paralympic Committee which constitutes 9 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) said that toward the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games (B2032), “We are committed to developing 8 more National Paralympic Committees to match the seventeen NOCs of ONOC.
“We will also need ONOC assistance to work with our current National Paralympic Committees to help them raise the bar of activities, visibility, and recognition within their nations.
OPC President Bird cited two standout examples of ONOC members that rose to meet challenges presented by the Oceania Paralympic Committee in the past year.
President Bird said he “Visited Nauru, specifically the Nauru National Olympic Committee led by Hon. Marcus Stephen which was the first targeted new NPC model and was overwhelmed by the welcome, support, and attitude to, ‘let’s get this happening’.
“Inclusion was just assumed as the norm and discussion on integration was part of conversation around athletes' access to gyms or the need to tie down straps for benches - nothing was seen as a problem.
“Since that visit we have had a powerlifting workshop in Nauru with our own powerlifting coach who recently attended a workshop in the Solomon Islands and that was a great example of inclusion and integration.”
OPC President Bird said, “At the same time, the Samoa Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee [SASNOC] with Secretary-General Maureen Tuimaleali’ifano and her team rehabilitated the struggling NPC in Samoa with a rejuvenated interim board and membership through a community-based approach.
“SASNOC as a guiding body ensured governance was in place to then allow for talent identification to occur.
“These examples give me great optimism as we move forward on this development journey engaging toward a sustainable model for para-sport within your countries.”
President Bird provided invaluable insight on the term ‘inclusion’ by discussing how we cannot achieve inclusion without integration - this served as a learning highlight for delegates.
‘Integration’ refers to the deeper practice of ensuring the needs of a person with a disability or impairment are taken into consideration to allow full participation and engagement. In simple terms, like providing a sign language interpreter for a person who is hearing impaired at a meeting.
This insight and how it bears on engagement and participation undergirded President Bird’s inspiring and thoughtful sharing.
This is part of our TRANSFORMING OCEANIA SPORT SERIES.
Running from 8 – 31 May 2023 it brings you the strategic discussions, headline decisions, inspirational organisations and people that featured at our pre-AGA ONOC Brisbane 2032 Step-Up Oceania Conference, the Sport and Sustainable Development Goals meeting, and the Olympic Solidarity Highlights.
For more information, please visit the following links:
Oceania National Olympic Committees
Oceania Paralympic Committee
Nauru National Olympic Committee
Samoa Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee
Established in 1981, the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) is one of five Continental Associations. It looks after the interests of 17 member nations in the Oceania Region, including Australia and New Zealand as well as seven associate members.
ONOC has an office in Guam where Secretary General Mr. Ricardo Blas is based and the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, where the Office of the President Dr Robin Mitchell is located.
All services and-programmes are based on the ONOC Strategic Plan for 2018-2021, and its 4 Core Functions of (1) Building and Strengthening NOCs Capacity (2) Cultivating Strategic Partnerships (3) Contributing towards Sporting Excellence and (4) Leading by Example.
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