Local athletes with disabilities are set to benefit from a new partnership between the Great Illawarra Walk and the Illawarra Academy of Sport.
As part of its commitment to supporting young people in the Illawarra, the 2022 Great Illawarra Walk will be raising funds to build a purpose-fit gym for athletes with disabilities through the Illawarra Academy of Sport’s Athlete with a Disability (AWD) program.
The Great Illawarra Walk, now in its fifteenth year, will be held on Saturday 12 March 2022, with participants walking 40km between Shellharbour and Austinmer.
Illawarra Academy of Sport Chief Executive Officer John Armstrong said, “The IAS is honoured to be associated with such an iconic event that plays such an important part in the Illawarra community.”
“The support this partnership will provide is phenomenal, as is the wealth of new, exciting opportunities that will benefit the talented para-athletes of the region.”
Great Illawarra Walk founder Chris Lovatt said the new partnership is set to benefit athletes for years to come.
“Every year when this event rolls around we see the whole community rally together to support children in need,” he said.
“We have a fantastic team of sponsors and we have just signed a partnership agreement with South32, which ensures we are able to donate 100 per cent of what we raise, with no administrative costs or associated fees.
“Our objective has always been to support Illawarra children in need, and we are thrilled to be announcing this new partnership.”
The IAS Athlete with a Disability (AWD) Program is designed to support the developmental needs of the regions talented athletes with disabilities by providing industry leading high-performance sport development programs.
Since the IAS was founded in 1985 more than 115 para-athletes have been through the program, including Tokyo Paralympic Games silver medallist, Jasmine Greenwood. In 2021, IAS AWD scholarship holders won eight National medals and fifteen State medals in swimming and athletics events.
Since its inception in 2008 the Great Illawarra Walk has raised more than one million dollars for children in need throughout the Illawarra, including the Saving Chloe Saxby Foundation, Camp Quality and Wollongong Hospital’s Neonatal Unit. Thousands of people have participated in the annual event, which has grown from a small group of 120 walkers to a record year of more than 800 walkers in 2019.