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GAP: Wheelchair Sports - searching for personal best
24 April 2010

Wheelchair Sports WA

Saturday April 24, Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Mirrabooka

article by Jesse Phillips, WAIS Kayaker, current K2 200m National Champion



That is what I felt after this Advanced Gifted Athlete Program. 


(Jesse’s definition: a humble view of one’s own existence/ability/importance

I feel very blessed to have a fully functioning body and I was inspired by the Wheelchair Sports athletes Kate Bobridge and I had the pleasure of presenting to at Mirrabooka’s Herb Graham Recreation Centre. I walked out with a smile - knowing that there was a group of athletes searching for their best regardless of physical attributes. I also walked out commenting to Kate about the increased mindfulness for those with able bodies who choose to become statistics for health department reports – of which Australia ranked 6th nation on the obesity scale with around 21% of the population.

Consider this:

Less than half of the school students (primary and secondary) interviewed reported undertaking the recommended *minimum 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This was lowest among secondary school girls with only 10% meeting the *national guidelines.

2008 Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey, © Government of Western Australia (2009)


I was able to share some of my best experiences and advice with the group of athletes, and it was great to see some fantastic group activity work: building paper towers, promoting their sports in 15 seconds, and leadership quality brainstorming. 

We had a great spirit amongst the athletes and I am always glad to be made more aware of the activities that athletes from a range of abilities undertake, as it makes me appreciate my sport for what it is at the same time as understanding the requirements of other sports.

Lunchtime was of particular interest to me as we jumped on the basketball court (I sacrificed a little bit of food time – but made up for it up later) and expressed ourselves around the key. After several drives in for the lay up basket, we attempted half court shots and also reverse backboard swishes. There were a number of great attempts, with 2 boys taking the honor of slotting one from the half court and the other slipping it in from behind the backboard. 

A really great experience which I will remember for a long time, and the lessons I took away will keep me grounded in my own performances and life.


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