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We caught up with Townsville local Paige Deguara to chat about her new appointment as Exercise Physiologist and Sports Development Officer at Sporting Wheelies.

Congratulations on the new role – can you please tell us more about what you will be doing in your role as an Exercise Physiologist and Sports Development Officer at Sporting Wheelies?

In my role as an Exercise Physiologist and Sport Development Officer at Sporting Wheelies, I’ll be responsible for helping clients achieve their goals, whatever that is. I will develop personalised fitness and exercise programs for clients to improve their lives through gained confidence and independence. Whether it’s helping locals recover from chronic diseases or improving mobility and flexibility, I will assist with their development in sports and support them through sporting pathways.

My role will also see me grow the inclusive sporting programs in Townsville. Sport is more than just the game and more than about movement, sport has an innate ability to bring people together.

Tell us more about Sporting Wheelies and the services they offer.

Sporting Wheelies is a not for profit that seeks to help people who are disabled lead a more active life.

Across the past 40 years, Sporting Wheelies have set a new benchmark for inclusive sports by changing the game for people living with disability. Enabling people of all abilities to enjoy recreation activities and play sport with their mates. Whether finding renewed independence and happiness in social sports, or striving toward Paralympic dreams, we believe sport can guide people of all abilities toward achieving their goals.

Sporting Wheelies support Queenslanders of all abilities and ages achieve their goals – whatever they may be. Through our specialised exercise rehabilitation programs using evidence-based treatments and industry-leading experts, we help Queenslanders with disability regain improved health, mobility and independence.

Sporting Wheelies is the State body for 5 Paralympic Sports – Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Basketball, Boccia, Goalball and Para-powerlifting.

Boccia Sport Day 2

What are you looking forward to most in the role? 

I’m looking forward to helping improve the lives of locals living with disability. I’m also excited to grow the popularity of wheelchair basketball, boccia programs and introduce new programs such as goalball to the disability community in Townsville.

How can people get involved/sign up to participate? 

People can get involved by visiting Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association or calling 07 3253 3333 to understand more about the services and sports programs available.

The latest ABS stats show that 1 in 5 Queenslanders have a disability, with the International Day of People with a Disability coming up on the 3rd of December – what can we do to promote greater awareness, understanding, acceptance, and inclusivity in our communities?

Education is key to creating greater awareness, understanding, acceptance and inclusivity in our communities. Ideally, educating people from a young age will aid with perceptions and discriminatory behaviour.

Sporting Wheelies has appointed Game Changers in Townsville to host the Inclusive School Sports Program which aims to provide physical literacy and a learning experience for all students to learn and play inclusive sports. The Game Changers who are all para-athletes share inspiring stories of their journeys of resilience on the path to achieving their miracle to encourage resilience, empathy and understanding.

Individually, a great way to foster inclusivity is to avoid stereotypes, take the time to learn about the most respectful ways to discuss disability, and seek opportunities that can foster inclusivity within your local community.

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What motivated you to pursue such a career and become an advocate?

I have always been passionate about health and fitness and wanted to make a career out of helping people achieve their goals and have better quality of life through movement and exercise. I’ve witnessed some amazing progress and want to be apart of many more. I was able to experience helping a patient stand up off the floor independently for the first time and help him build his confidence in his ability to stand independently. It was very rewarding seeing how much confidence he gained after that session, and I knew that this was the right career path for me.

Thank you so much for your time, and we wish you all the best in your new role. Looking forward to seeing what more you can achieve!