The Australian Paralympic Committee has facilitated the establishment of an Athlete Commission in recognition of the clear advantages to be gained from continuous and meaningful engagement with Australia’s Paralympians.
The commission is comprised of 11 Paralympians from eight sports.
Two-time Paralympic swimmer Annabelle Williams was elected Chairperson by her colleagues, while table tennis player Daniela Di Toro – a six-time Paralympian and co-captain of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team – will serve as Vice Chairperson.
Angie Ballard (athletics), Blake Cochrane (swimming), Carol Cooke (cycling), Curtis McGrath (canoe), Dan Michel (boccia), Prue Watt (swimming), Sarah Rose (swimming), Sarah Stewart (wheelchair basketball) and Toby Kane (alpine skiing) were also selected as inaugural members.
APC Chief Executive Lynne Anderson said the time was right for athletes to be given greater input when it comes to shaping the future of the Australian Paralympic movement.
“Our athletes are at the heart of everything we do at the APC and hopefully the establishment of the APC Athlete’s Commission will take our engagement with our athletes to a new whole new level,” Anderson said.
“We are amazed by the calibre of the people who form this commission. They bring an outstanding and diverse range of skills and experiences and I’m sure they will be led brilliantly by Annie and Danni – two incredible ambassadors for Paralympic sport.
“I know the APC Board and management are very excited to work closely with the Athlete Commission and we are excited by what we can achieve together.”
Meeting for the first time in Sydney recently, the Athlete Commission addressed the immediate need to establish a strategic direction, terms of reference and effective governance structures.
Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the 2016 and 2020 Australian Paralympic Teams, said the inaugural meeting showed the potential of the Athlete Commission to make a meaningful impact.
“It was such a privilege to attend the meeting and experience the energy in the room. Every member of this commission brings a passion for excellence and I know they will make things happen,” McLoughlin said.
“We are looking to them for leadership and to represent the views of Paralympic athletes across all sports to help the APC and our partners ensure they are accessing the information and support required.
“We also see the Athlete Commission as one of the driving forces of the Mob, connecting the present to the past and the future with a strong focus on nurturing well-being not just related to sport.”
In addition to the APC Athlete Commission, a Mob Leadership Team has also been established as a conduit between athletes within their respective sports, peers outside their sport, and the Athlete Commission itself.
This team includes the members of the Athletes’ Commission, along with Ellie Cole (swimming), Grant Mizens (wheelchair basketball), Hannah Macdougall (cycling), Kat Ross (rowing), Katie Kelly (triathlon), Maddy Hogan (athletics), Matt Levy (swimming), Nicole Esdaile (goalball) and Sharon Jarvis (equestrian).