BALLARAT’S sporting landscape has a new landmark with the long-awaited Paralympic Avenue of Honour set for completion in the coming weeks.
Names of some of Australia’s greatest Paralympians like wheelchair rugby player Greg Smith, athletics’ Jodi Willis-Roberts and shooter Peter Tait will be etched into the walls of the new permanent display at Lake Wendouree.
Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said she was proud that the city would play host to what is understood to be the first such memorial in a regional centre in Australia.
“Council resolved some time ago to undertake what will be a first for regional Australia in establishing a dedicated recognition area for our Paralympians,” Cr McIntosh said.
“Council adopted a criteria for the recognition and has sought nominations from Paralympians that were Ballarat based and/or had links to Ballarat.
“We received a number of nominations through this process and these have been reviewed and will be formally announced when the Paralympic Avenue is officially opened at a ceremony proposed for March 6.”
The works have been carried out on the site over the past six months with the avenue to sit proudly alongside the Olympic rings and leading to the judges box at the end of the 1956 Olympic rowing course.
“The walk has been the subject of extensive work over recent months with it extending along the peninsula out towards the judges box from the Olympic Precinct and will have the final touches of the recognition plaques installed in coming weeks,” Cr McIntosh said.
“The (opening) event will be public to celebrate the very significant achievements of our Paralympians.”
When she visited the construction site in June, Australian Paralympic Committee athlete engagement and wellbeing officer, former world No. 1 wheelchair tennis star, and multiple paralympic medalist Daniela Di Toro said it was an outstanding opportunity for athletes to be recognised alongside Olympic athletes.
“This shines it in a incredible light,” Ms Di Toro said.
“This whole lake is an incredible opportunity to experience the Olympic rings and as you pass this while walking, you will see the Paralympic sign. I can just imagine future athletes sitting here and aspiring to the greatness of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
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