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Athlete preparation in developing countries

How do athletes train and prepare for major sport events in developing countries in the Oceania region? Watch this video to find out.
My name is Chris Nunn. I am the Project Coordinator for the Oceania Paralympic Committee. I spend a lot of time travelling throughout the Pacific region identifying athletes and coaches for participation in sport. My background has been as the head coach for the Australian Paralympic team, also the head coach for the Australian athletics team. So I have more than 35 years experience in track and field, so with particular focus of going to the islands and identifying athletes and coaches.
My name is Dephnny and I am from Vanuatu. My classification is T35. My name is Friana Kwevira I am from Vanuatu. And my sport is javelin. My name is Doriane Naliupis. Well, I come from Vanuatu. And, actually, I’m with all the para athletes doing the track and field. My reference point of what is possible in sport is the Australian Institute of Sport and we know just about anything is possible. 180 degrees away from that is what we find in the Pacific Islands. So you go into communities that don’t have training facilities. They don’t have an understanding of what coaching could be. They don’t have an understanding of what potential people with disabilities may have by participation in sport.
Well, back home we do not have a gym, and I used to climb up the hills, carry the baskets, and walk from the school to where we live. I used to fill up the containers with the sand, milk containers, for weightlifting. We don’t have a track and field, but we use the grass, the field to do our running on. Back at home I just can tell you that it’s very, very difficult, especially when we don’t have enough educators like you guys here. And even we don’t have facilities, buildings accessible, that can help them participate. I think, really it’s very basic at home.
I’ve been doing this very basic, just because I haven’t been to a training before, I just train all of my kids, especially children with disabilities back in Vanuatu, very locally because we don’t have any facilities. And we have many challenges in regards to funding and support from our government.

Watch the video and listen to this moving story of two para athletes and their coach preparing for a major sports event. And, look through the eyes of an Australian coach who has seen athlete preparation in developed and developing countries first hand.

Competing at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Dephnny Naliupis, her team-mate Friana, and their coach Doriane reside in a small village on a remote island of Vanuatu in the Pacific. Dephnny and Friana represented Vanuatu at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. It was their first major sports event, yet sports science and sport technology remained as strange terms to them and were clearly absent from their training and preparation.

Coaching and training

Occasionally, expert coaching appears in Vanuatu but then disappears without the transfer of knowledge to local coaches or planning for the future. Dephnie and Frianna describe their preparation more like survival rather than a precisely designed and organised training program. For coach Doriane, the opportunity for “her girls” to participate in a major sports event is something of a dream. Throughout this week, you will hear from her about how sport has changed the lives of people in her community.

Support from an Australian coach

In the video you heard from expert track and field coach, Chris Nunn OAM, who is from Australia. He provides his account of working with para athletes from developing countries and provides a raw and detailed view of what it is like for these girls, as athletes and as members of their community.

It is clear that the preparation of athletes in developing countries is vastly different from those who live in developed countries.

Your task

Share any knowledge or experience you have of sport in developing countries in the comments below.

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