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Exclusive: Paralympian Bridie Kean Talks Future for Athletes

T
he Ministry of Sport Women in Sport Summit 2021 took place on Friday, June 25 at USC Stadium, delivered in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism and Events Queensland.

Australian Paralympian, Bridie Kean, spoke at the event about the importance of providing opportunities and diversity in sport.

Reflecting on the Women in Sport Summit, Kean said the comments of Queensland Academy of Sport CEO, Chelsea Warr, resonated with her.

“I think [Chelsea’s] messages really transcend across elite sport into all aspects of life,” Kean told Ministry of Sport.

“I do agree that we sell ourselves short as women in leadership roles and I think if I was in that position, I’d have Chelsea’s voice in my ear now going “yes you are ready,” she said.

Thinking back to her own introduction to the sporting world, Kean said the potential of Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympics could inspire the next generation of Australian athletes.

“It’s so cool for them to see [Brisbane 2032] as a potential option,” Kean said.

“I got involved in sport after seeing the Sydney 2000 Games play out, I attended it physically.

“But I think that it’s not even just about them the ones that will have the opportunity to become elite athletes and perform at that level, it’s about the health and wellbeing impacts of generating that excitement around sport.

“I think that the 2032 games have that potential for people to just see more sport everywhere; in people’s backyards, in the parks…just competing for the fun of it,” she said.

But for kids to see themselves competing in the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Kean notes the challenge is ensuring they have the opportunity to continue with the sport in their teen and adult years.

“I think that the key is continuing,” Kean said.

“I almost worry about programmes or situations where people are exposed to, or kids are exposed to the sport but don’t have the opportunity or the resources to continue.

“[These programs] don’t have the same impact if they can’t really continue sport as a normal part of their lives as kids, as teenagers, and as young adults,” she said.

Kean also said Australia’s social sports programs play a crucial role in encouraging adults to continue playing sport.

“I think Australia does it really well compared to some countries, where we do have social support for adults,” Kean said.

“Everyone I know who competes in that level… it’s like nothing else, you can’t get that from anywhere else except sport, so I think it’s a crucial part,” she said.

Over the coming weeks, Ministry of Sport will be releasing video footage from the Women in Sport Summit 2021, including Bridie Kean’s speech on inclusion in sport.