On Tuesday 6 December 2022, six Australian parliamentarians visited Port Moresby to engage with and experience projects supported by the Australian Government.
The contingent included an eclectic mix of influential leaders who represent a diverse portfolio of advocacy topics across sports, human rights, health and working with people with disabilities, including:
- Senator the Hon Sue Lines (Senator for WA)
- Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC (Senator for WA)
- Ms Sharon Claydon MP (Member for Newcastle)
- Mr Josh Burns MP (Member for Macnamara)
- Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Senator for NSW)
- Dr Sophie Scamps MP (Member for Mackellar)
Badminton formed part of their itinerary in the form of Inclusive GymBad – PNG (part of Team Up – the Australian Government’s sport for development program in the Asia-Pacific), which is a combination activity (badminton and gymnastics) that aims to remove and reduce barriers experienced by people with a disability, particularly women and girls. The program is delivered in collaboration with Oceania Gymnastics Union, Badminton Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Gymnastics Federation and Motivation Australia.
Our Coaching and Development Officer, Ian Bridge, was joined by multiple leaders and participants of the Inclusive GymBad – PNG program to meet with the Australian contingent, alongside representatives from another sport for development project, Basketball 4 Good.
The meet opened with networking and speaking opportunities to discuss the impacts and benefits of sport, before Para badminton players and Inclusive GymBad leaders/participants showcased some drills and opened the invite to the visiting parliamentarians.
“We are so happy to meet with you all today. Sport is good for a healthy life, strengthening our bodies and to bringing people together”, said The Honourable Mr Josh Burns MP (Member for Macnamara)
The meeting comes at an exciting time for Badminton Papua New Guinea, who are determined to grow and develop the sport with an enhanced focus on players with a disability and females – in a player and leadership capacity. Some of the long-term goals include increasing their pool of skilled and qualified coaches, creating pathways for junior players to train and compete beyond their borders, and enhancing the Para badminton structure. In particular, sending teams to compete in international Para badminton tournaments in Australia and Japan next year and consequently qualifying eligible players into the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and beyond.
Moreover, Badminton Oceania are delivering two Para badminton tournaments next year (Continental Championships and International tournament – a Paralympic qualifier) in Perth which will be a key opportunity for PNG’s players and a legacy of the Inclusive GymBad program for their nation’s representatives.
“We were delighted to welcome the Australian senators and MPs to our session. They were impressed by the positive impact and inclusive opportunities provided to locals and it was great to see people with a disability coaching able bodied players. There were some fantastic conversations and thought-provoking ideas flowing around the room, highlighting how valuable this opportunity is. I am excited to watch the sport and opportunities evolve for those in Papua New Guinea”, says Ian Bridge