The world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment will descend on Brisbane this November, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has revealed.
Cr Schrinner said the inaugural Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 (OA Games) would welcome up to 1000 elite athletes and officials from New Zealand, Asia and Pacific Nations to Brisbane.
“In 2019, Brisbane demonstrated its inclusivity, accessibility and warm, friendly atmosphere to elite athletes during the very successful INAS Global Games,” Cr Schrinner said.
“That year, INAS announced its rebrand to Virtus Games and we are excited to again be chosen to host elite athletes from around Asia and the Pacific.
“Off the back of being confirmed as host of Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we really are cementing our position as the national capital for major sporting events.”
The Council is financially supporting the OA Games and providing in-kind support to help co-ordinate and promote the event.
The program will feature basketball, cycling, rowing and tennis alongside competitive pathways to the 2024 Paralympic Games.
“Feature sports including athletics, swimming and table tennis will be Paralympic pathway events leading to the Virtus Global Games 2023 in Vichy France, and the 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris,” Cr Schrinner said.
“We’re also proud to announce gold, silver and bronze-winning 2020 Tokyo Paralympic swimming star Benjamin Hance as the first Ambassador for the event.”
Sport Inclusion Australia and OA Games 2022 CEO Robyn Smith OAM said the event was a great opportunity to be inspired by and to celebrate participating athletes.
“We are delighted to be hosting the OA Games 2022 in the beautiful city of Brisbane and are grateful to the Brisbane City Council for their ongoing support and commitment to inclusion,” Ms Smith said.
“With an estimated two to three per cent of the world’s population having an intellectual impairment, the OA Games 2022 highlights the immense ability of the athletes and the power of sport to change attitudes, challenge perceptions, and strengthen communities locally and globally.”
The Federal Government has committed to supporting the OA Games 2022 with an investment of almost $2 million.