Australian High Commissioner Sarah Clair De Zoeten encouraged para-athletes on sports participation as she officially opened the first ever 40th Independence Para Sports Championship at the National Fitness & Evacuation Centre yesterday.

The High Commissioner told the players how lucky they were to play during this COVID-19 crisis which is affecting the world.

“You are lucky to participate in your event today when other countries in the world are facing challenges from COVID-19.

“Vanuatu is COVID-19 free the only problem Vanuatu is facing is the economic impact of COVID- 19, TC Harold damage and ash fall from Tanna,” she said.

“We are celebrating sports partnership together as Sport unite all communities in all countries.”

Sports development is always Australia’s key aspect.

“Sport development is Australian Government priority. Australian government is one key partner for Table Tennis ‘Smash Down Barriers programme’.

“We are also key partner for supporting Vanuatu Volleyball Federation and we making a life changing programme on all women or girls from 18 years to 75 years.

This is one sucessfull programme where it involves all communities in Efate, Tanna and Santo.

“This programme have one good objective to empower women in participation in volleyball.”

Vanuatu Paralympic Committee is also one important partner for Australia through the Pacific Sports Partnership it lift all lives in Vanuatu to inclusivity and empowerment.

“Sports belong to every men and every women and every pikinini to improve lives of everyone.

“I’m glad to join you in opening your event first ever tournament. I look forward to see some good players compete in Para Championship, good luck and God Bless,” the Australian High Commissioner concluded.

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