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The long-term outlook: What’s next for GAPS?

Hear from those involved in the GAPS Programme what the future outlook is, the proposed ideas and how potential new partners might be involved.
What does the CGF take away from the partnership with the GAPS Programme? So I think from a CGF perspective, one of the real challenges I see in sport is a lack of strategic vision from all of the various stakeholders. And I see that particularly in the Oceania region.
And I think that what I take away from this programme is that when you actually align the partners with a clear vision, and we’re able to bring people together to talk about strategy, even though we might have different roles, we’re playing different roles in sport, if we’re able to align around a greater vision– and so whether that’s non-governmental partners, whether it’s universities, whether it’s governments, whether it’s the Commonwealth Games Federation or the Pacific Games Council– if we can align those organisations together in terms of a clear vision around what we want for sport, then the resources we have available can be extended so much further, we can gather so much more to assist the athletes and the coaches of the region.
Sport is getting more and more difficult. The playing field and the gap between those that have and those that don’t have is getting bigger and bigger. And unless we come up with a clear strategy, it will be to the detriment of athletes.

You have just heard in the video that, looking to the future, the alignment of the interests and vision of programme partners is of paramount importance to developing a strategy that will produce the best results for participants.

We’ll look at this further but first, let’s find out what’s next for GAPS. Let’s hear from those involved who are reflecting on lessons learnt from the first run of the programme, reviewing feedback and proposing changes to decide how it can be developed, improved, and expanded and why this should be done.

Proposed ideas for the Programme

Future focus

It is certain that the programme will continue to be particularly focused on the development of marginalised groups – athletes with a disability and women as great benefits for these groups have already been proven.

Lessons learnt: Reflections on budget planning

Listen to Dr Alana Thomson interview Associate Professor Clare Minahan on changes that would be made to budget planning for the programme.

Reflections on how best to plan the budget for next time

A camp in Oceania countries

Upon reviewing the results of the three camps and feedback provided, it became clear that sending a team including expert coaches to the Oceania country for the first of the three camps would allow more athletes and coaches the chance to benefit from the programme. More key people in-country would then learn the skills to continue their own sport development and expert coaches would better be able to assist in identifying potential athletes and coaches who would benefit from the programme. This is also a first step in a larger plan to establish an ongoing GAPS Programme in the Pacific.

Listen to our two lead educators, with Dr Alana Thomson interviewing Associate Professor Clare Minahan as they discuss this proposed idea.

A camp in the country of the event

To further prepare the athletes and coaches and familiarise them with the environment they will compete in, a proposed idea is to hold the third camp in the city hosting the event.

Associate Professor Clare Minahan explains further.

Alignment of Partners

Earlier, we heard from Richard de Groen from the CGF in the video above. He explained that aligning the existing and potential new partners’ vision for sport development that enhances and promotes equity and inclusion will be a key factor in the future success of the GAPS Programme. This involves making sure the aims and objectives of the multi-stakeholder partnership such as national governing bodies, local authorities, voluntary groups, the university delivering the program as well as researchers collecting data, are aligned and on the same page.

The GAPS Programme shows early progress in this alignment, with it being a welcome change from other programmes previously run by other groups in Oceania. Moving forward, the development of GAPS will aim to ensure the efficient use of resources by working with partners to take a targeted approach to achieve equity and inclusion outcomes.

Potential new partners

Also, gauging the interest generated by the programme, we’ll explore the possibility of new partners and contributors to the GAPS Programme. There is increasing interest to support para athletes and each major sports event aims to be more diverse and inclusive than the previous. For example, Tokyo 2020 Olympics aims to host the most number of para athletes from the developing countries in games history. With this increase in participation of athletes from developing countries in major sport events, new partnership opportunities including government, research institutes, and sporting organisations will present themselves.

Listen to Duncan Free OAM discuss the positive changes the first camp has produced in athletes – and how moving forward the goal is to replicate this and foster great relations with the partners and potential new stakeholders.

Duncan Free OAM – Director of Griffith Sport College discusses the camps and programme partners

Your task

We have considered the future development of the programme but a question that is commonly asked is ‘When should the opportunities stop being offered?’

Or put more bluntly, if athletes from developing countries, supported by sport programmes run by other countries, begin to win, should the support and funding stop?

Christine Brennan from the Washington Post raised this very issue more than 30 years ago in her article: Foreign athletes giving the U.S. a run for its money.

Read the article linked above and let us know your opinion about this in the comments below.

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Major Sport Events: Winning Through Diversity and Inclusion

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