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Inclusive sport thriving through COVID times

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work. It’s fair to say; we’re all feeling somewhat anxious at the moment.

Dealing with an ever-changing environment is one thing, but dealing with it as a person with a disability is quite another. Feelings and emotions can run high when change occurs, which make some days a challenge for care providers.

Over the past five years, Inclusive Sports Training (IST) has been hands-on in supporting triathletes with a disability by providing a safe and inclusive space for them to train, develop, and enjoy swim, bike and run.

The onset of coronavirus required the IST team to find new ways to engage and support their large member cohort, who  come primarily to the group via school partnerships across metropolitan Melbourne.

“It’s been a challenging time,” said Liz Gosper, who owns and runs IST.

“We’ve had to think outside the box to ensure everyone remains connected. Keeping up athlete training has been our goal,”

“In the first lockdown, we were providing online challenges and Triathlon Victoria’s school activity sheets were beneficial to engage our athletes during restrictions.”

Each week, IST set targets for their athletes to complete which included online workouts, kilometre challenges and keeping a record of how much exercise each athlete was doing.

New training singlets were also provided to identify athletes and alert the public to their needs while exercising.

As an extra incentive, athletes received a certificate of completion at the end of each week and photos were posted on IST’s Facebook and Instagram showcasing athletes and their home workout.

When restrictions lifted the first time, many runners went back to training in groups of 10. The excitement of seeing each other was overwhelming and the group was running better than ever with a greater appreciation of the opportunities training offered.

“When lockdown number two hit, it was a huge blow,” said Gosper.

“With the support of family or carers, many athletes had continued to train through lockdown number one. I realized that not seeing each other was not going to work this time around, so finding a way for everyone to remain connected was high on our agenda.”

This need for connection and interaction has resulted in IST moving to online training sessions with strength and conditioning, Yoga and Boxing classes now being conducted.

 

Expert coaches with experience in Intellectual Impairment coaching have been employed and run these sessions via Zoom. It’s become a great way for everyone to remain connected and see each other regularly.

Everything has been working well in a COVID safe way. All IST employees have completed the COVID safe coaching course and they have the same program running with cycling using only accredited coaches.

Even in times of constant change the team at IST remain motivated and, like all of us, continue to work through the changing environment we find ourselves in.

To learn more about IST and getting involved as an athlete or school, please contact Liz Gosper via IST’s Facebook Page.

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