A new partnership between Netball Australia, Special Olympics Australia and ANZ is set to provide people living with an intellectual disability with another avenue to access regular netball competitions across the country.
The announcement was made during a netball exhibition game played as part of the 10th Special Olympics Australia National Games at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
On completion of the Games, Special Olympics Australia, Netball Australia and ANZ will make netball a full participation sport and permanent fixture on Special Olympics Australia’s already busy sporting schedule.
Special Olympics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Nicola Stokes said this partnership will increase the quality of life for the largest and most socially isolated disability group in Australia.
“This partnership will ensure that people who are living with an intellectual disability who currently do not play sport will get the opportunity to participate and experience the friendships, joy and health benefits playing netball offers,” Stokes said.
Chair of ANZ’s Accessibility and Inclusion Plan, Sue Jeffery said: “ANZ is pleased to extend our support to Special Olympics Australia and the introduction of netball as a sport offered to athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“The partnership is further demonstration of our support of netball in Australia through the ‘Netball Nation’, which is dedicated to connecting and nurturing all athletes who play and love netball.”
Special Olympics Australia will start the netball competition in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia with 500 athletes participating with a view to increase to more than 1000 by 2018.
Special Olympics Australia National Games will run from 20–25 October and brings together almost 1000 athletes with an intellectual disability to compete in 16 sports.