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Countries: The legacy of sport development

Find out in this article how the legacy of sport development in developing countries in Oceania is supported by Griffith University's GAPS Programme.
Map of Oceania Countries and their flags
© Griffith University

Developing countries, as we’ve learnt in this course, have limited funds to invest in their own sport development. The GAPS Programme however, has the potential to secure a legacy of sport development by contributing to both sides – the supply and the demand. Let’s take a look at what this means.

When we talk about sport development, we often talk about developing the supply and demand side of sport1.


The supply side is about providing sport opportunities and relates to improving the skills and knowledge of the organisations delivering sport.


The demand side is about sport participants, both recruiting and retaining them.

Legacies of the GAPS Programme: Supply

To help secure a legacy of delivering sport, the GAPS Programme has provided participating athletes with access to world leading expertise in sports coaching, sports science, sports medicine and sport management and increased the sophistication of athletes’ approach to their training. This is a great example of the legacy being built.

We also anticipate that our GAPS athletes and coaches will return to their home countries and sports federations as advocates for improved approaches to athlete training and will continue to share their new skills and knowledge. The hope is that they will make the most of the resources they do have access to at home.

As we heard in Step 2.3 Why level the playing field, when countries are involved in inclusive major sport events, this can positively affect the attitudes within the country towards diversity and inclusion and contribute to social change2,3, creating a noteworthy legacy.

Listen to Chris Nunn explain further the importance of developing opportunities for sport participation and improving the provision of sport at the community level in our Oceania countries.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Legacies of the GAPS Programme: Demand

Let’s now look at the potential legacy of recruiting and retaining sport participants. The GAPS Programme has the potential to contribute to both:

  • keeping these current athletes within their sports.

    GAPS has offered a valuable pathway to competition for the current participants, encouraging these athletes to strive for more in their performances into the future.

  • playing a role in encouraging wider participation and recruiting new athletes into sport.

    GAPS has helped create a strong sports presence in the community, contributing to greater participation, particularly of those with disabilities.

Impact on communities

We can also see the potential for the GAPS Programme to have a wider and indirect impact on communities by encouraging national pride and inspiring the next generation of sport participants and elite athletes.

Role models in the region

Having athletes from places like Fiji and Vanuatu that are not just participating in the event, but being competitive and performing at their best is more likely to be covered by the media. While the research on the impact of sport role models on the uptake of sport by youth is undecided, if the messages and images represented in the media are inclusive and enabling, it is likely we will see positive impacts on attitudes towards disability4, as well as encourage the next generation of Oceania athletes.

Your task

The media has an important role to play in in sharing messages and engaging audiences. Take a look at the following news article which discusses a current research project investigating the media’s tendency to want to focus on the disabilities of para athletes, more than their sporting achievements.

Article: Western U prof explores media coverage of paralympics

Are you able to find examples of media stories which:

  • Focus on para athletes disabilities?
  • Focus on para athletes as athletes?

Share these in the comments below.


1. Coalter F. The politics of sport-for-development: Limited focus programmes and broad gauge problems? International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 2010;45 (3):395-314.

2. Maharaj. Living disability and restructuring International Paralympic Committee sport in Oceania: the challenge of perceptions, spatial dispersal and limited resources. Sport in Society. 2011;14:9:1211-1226.

3. McPherson et al. Creating Public Value Through Parasport Events. Event Management. 2017 May 1;21(2):185-199. Available from:

4. McPherson et al. Elite athletes or superstars? Media representation of para-athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Disability and Society. 2016 July 18;31(5):659-675. Available from:

© Griffith University
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