Special Olympics Canberra is one of the many Special Olympics programs around Australia transforming the lives of people with an intellectual disability through regular sport, competition and personal development. Our focus is on helping all people with an intellectual disability reach their personal best, regardless of their skills.

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Andrew Hoatson - INAS World Futsal Championships

Canberra futsal player Andrew Hoatson has just returned from representing Australia at the INAS World Futsal Championships held in La Roche-Sur-Yon, southwest France. INAS is the international sports federation for athletes with an intellectual disability. INAS provides competition opportunities for elite athletes with an intellectual disability within the Paralympic program.

Andrew was selected in the ‘Aussie Crocs’ National Team after his standout performance in the National Championships in Canberra in January 2012. This is the second time the ‘Aussie Crocs’ have recently participated at international level (Italy in 2011), which is a major achievement given that futsal programs for athletes with a disability are still largely in their infancy in Australia. The success of these programs reflects the contributions of many dedicated people associated with such organisations as Football Federation Australia, Capital Football, Special Olympics, AusRapid, and Sports4All. To have instilled a pathway for futsal development in Australia from local to State, to National, and to International competition level has been challenging, but inspiring for many people.

The ‘Aussie Crocs’ team played their matches in France with enthusiasm and passion, but they were no match for the traditional soccer-based European nations of France, Italy, and the eventual winners Portugal. Players from these countries were on a different planet possessing exceptional ball skills and amazing fitness capacities. However, Andrew did the ACT proud by winning the ‘Golden Boot’ award for kicking the most goals for his team. One of Andrew’s notable achievements was scoring a hat-trick against the powerful and defensive Italian team. Other highlights for the Aussie players on tour included the scenic sites of Paris (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame) and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (Ferrari World, State Palaces, massive sand dunes and bogged 4wd vehicles) and trying to eat snails in Parisian restaurants. The INAS World Futsal Championships provided Andrew a great opportunity for meeting other futsal players from around the world, touching iconic landmarks that people only dream about, and gaining important futsal skills for future national-international events.

Click here to view photographs. 

     Report by Dean Hoatson

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