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Scholarship promoting inclusion through sport

The University of Waikato have collaborated with leading disability organisations across the country to conduct research in active recreation and participation.

The University of Waikato are introducing a scholarship to help open up sport and active recreation for impaired individuals.

The scholarship will give three full-time doctoral students the opportunity to undertake research around policies and practices that support inclusion in disability sport and active recreation, coach development in disability sport, and the welfare of Para athletes.

The university’s Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, Sport and Human Performance Acting Dean AP Kirsten Petrie says the scholarship is based on inclusiveness and equity.

“Disabled communities are underserved in this country, and around the world. We want all New Zealanders to have the opportunity to engage in and enjoy active recreation and sport.

“This research is an important step toward supporting the incredible work our partner organisations already do in our communities.”

University of Waikato lecturer Doctor Robert Townsend says the research conducted by the scholarship recipients is going to help disabled individuals to have more opportunities.

“The roll-out of multiple PhD and Masters Scholarships in disability sport is a world-first and further demonstrates the University of Waikato’s commitment to creating partnerships and establishing a disability sport research agenda that will make a difference to the lives of disabled people in New Zealand.”

The University of Waikato’s scholarship project was developed in collaboration with the Halberg Foundation, Paralympics NZ, Special Olympics NZ, Sport Waikato and Parafed Organisations NZ.

Chief Executive of Paralympics New Zealand Fiona Allan says the research conducted by the scholarship recipients is extremely valuable in terms of growing Para sport in New Zealand.

“It is great to be working across the sporting sector and with the University of Waikato to offer scholarships creating research that will benefit all disabled athletes.

“It will assist to make sport more accessible for disabled people and in turn support the creation of more systems and programmes to enable participation in Para sport.

“Within high performance Para sport our Para athletes and Paralympians work hard every day to be the best they can be, their welfare is critical to their success and wellbeing. This research will inform further developments in Para athlete welfare support.”

Chief Executive of The Halberg Foundation, Shelley McMeekan says she commends the university for creating the scholarship with a focus on equity and inclusion.

“In particular, project one around ‘Structural Inclusion, Equity and Access’ aligns with the Foundation’s vision of an inclusive New Zealand. We thank the University for the collaborative opportunity and look forward to seeing the research outcomes from the successful students.”

Scholarship applications close at the end of March. For more information, click here.

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