Thursday, September 27, 2018

Young athletes set to raise their game with new funding

Sport Access Foundation

Four promising young athletes who have a disability, are set to hone their skills in their chosen sports, thanks to funding from Sport Access Foundation's 2018 grants provided by The June Canavan Foundation and BMD Group.

The four Australian athletes, who each receive a $2000 grant from the Sport Access Foundation (SAF) are:

  1. Dayna Crees, Berwick (VIC), aged 16, para-athletics in the F34 category (seated thrower)
  2. Caleb Crowden, O’Halloran Hill (SA), aged 18, para-table tennis
  3. Finn Broadbent, Brighton East (VIC), aged 16, wheelchair tennis
  4. Kaitlyn Naismith, Darwin (NT), aged 15, para-swimming

Announcing the grants, Ms Kelly, who won gold in the para-triathlon at the 2016 Rio Paralympics said she was delighted to see that disability sports in Australia were becoming more recognised and growing in popularity for both participants and spectators.

“Since Rio and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, we’re seeing broader awareness of athletes with a disability and what they can achieve,” Katie said.
“This is the second year that SAF has offered grants to young athletes who have a disability, and we were overwhelmed with exactly 100 applications received from every state and territory in Australia.”

The idea for a foundation to help fund younger Australian’s to get into sport, came about from Katie’s own experience growing up with the deaf-blind condition - Ushers Syndrome and through her Paralympic experience meeting many young Australians with a disability keen to play sport.

“A barrier to playing sport for kids who have a disability, is often the access to the right facilities and equipment. This is where SAF assists with its annual grants.”

The foundation has an ongoing partnership with the ASX listed steel company BlueScope.

BlueScope’s Managing Director and CEO, Mark Vassella, said: “BlueScope is delighted to continue its support as a foundation partner and we congratulate the four recipients for 2018.”

This year SAF received funding from the June Canavan Foundation ($6,000) and from BMD Group, Northern Territory ($2,000), which went directly towards the grants.

Richie Ward, Regional Manager, BMD said the grants would not only help financially, but give a big boost to the profile of each athlete in their local community.  

“BMD acknowledges the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in both our business and the communities in which we work. We were pleased to come on board this year and support SAF with a donation that directly assists a young athlete from the ATSI community in the Territory. It’s fantastic to see young people like Kaitlyn, striving to achieve their very best.”

Background on the 2018 Grant Recipients:

The following three recipients will receive grants which were funded by The June Canavan Foundation.

Dayna Crees, 16 years, Berwick, VIC

Disability: Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia from birth

Sport: Athletics, F34 class Club: Casey Cardinia Athletics Club

Dayna competes as a seated thrower in F34 class in Athletics. She competes in both Junior and Open classes. Dayna is aiming for the 2019 Junior Para World Championships in Switzerland. She has set goals of distances needed to be achieved to reach a qualifying throw to gain selection int the Australian Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The grant will be used for this campaign for Tokyo which includes Coach fees, S&C training and out of pocket for travel and competition.

Caleb Crowden, 18 years, O'Halloran Hill, SA

Disability: Cerebral Palsy, wheelchair bound from Birth

Sport: Table Tennis (Wheelchair), S4 class Club: Brighton Table Tennis Club

Caleb is in the Australian Para Table Tennis Team and travels overseas for competition. He needs funds for him and his carer for travel and out of pocket expenses. He is the current Oceania Regional Class 4 Champion and Australian Class 4 Wheelchair champion. He is seeded 4th in the world for his class and is training 25 hours a week. His goal is to make the Australian Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020. Recent article.

Finn Broadbent, 16 years, Brighton East, VIC

Disability: Undiagnosed severe and permanent progressive disorder of spinal cord since 5 years of age. Relies on forearm crutches and a wheelchair.

Sport: Tennis (Wheelchair), *Quad class Club: Melbourne and Hampton Tennis Club

Finn recently represented Australia in the World Team for the Junior World Cup in Netherlands. He is currently ranked 14 in the world. Last year he purchased his first tennis wheelchair without assistance to the value of $5,100. The grant will assist with training commitments, chair equipment and maintenance and out of pocket expenses to travel. His goal is to one day represent Australia at the top level in wheelchair tennis.

BMD Group directly funded a grant for an Indigenous child with a disability living in the NT. This year’s recipient is:

Kaitlyn Naismith, 15 years, Darwin, NT

Disability: Intellectual disability and Learning Disability (Autistic spectrum) since birth

Sport: Tennis, Intellectual Disability Class (special Olympics)

Club: Darwin Gymnastics Club and Palmerston Swimming Club

Kaitlyn attends a special education school and has participated in the Australian Special Olympic Games in swimming, as well as representing the NT in July this year at the National Schools competition. She is also competing in the National Gymnastics competition this month (September) on the Gold Coast. Her Grandparents are her legal carers for her and her brother. This grant will enable her to continue to participate and achieve her goals in both swimming and gymnastics.

Details on the classifications:

  • F34 class - this is one of eight classifications specifically for athletes with cerebral palsy, and one of four for athletes with cerebral palsy who use a wheelchair. People in this class have hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis. This class includes people who have cerebral palsy, or who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
  • S4 class - this is seated class with physical impairment for table tennis in a wheelchair. Class 4 players have some sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. They can move to the front to meet their opponent’s serve.
  • Quad class - this class are for those who have an impairment affecting their playing arm as well as their legs. This limits their ability to handle the racket and to move in the wheelchair. You will find that players may use tape to securely grip the racket.
  • Special Olympics - have set classes for competition.


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Sport Access Foundation acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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