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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2561


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (09:51): Over the weekend of 18 and 19 February this year, the South Australian BMX Championships were hosted by the Cross Keys BMX Club at their club facilities at Unity Park in Pooraka. I was unable to stay for all of the racing, but I did manage to get to the championships for a short time on both days and see the skills, the thrills and the spills of some incredible BMX racing, including from some of Australia's Olympic BMX hopefuls. As with the Salisbury Cycle Speedway racing at Salisbury North, which I also often attend, I applaud BMX racing because of the opportunities it provides to people of all ages and, very importantly, because the racing becomes a family affair. It was wonderful to see so many families competing and supporting each other on the day.

In Australia, owning and riding a bike is very much part of a child's development. Taking the next step and turning what begins as fun and recreation into a competitive sport for children of all ages and abilities provides opportunities for so many children to participate in sport when they might otherwise lack the confidence to do so. This was particularly evident to me when parents I spoke to on the day told me stories of riders who overcame serious disabilities to become star BMX riders. For example, children with autism or ADHD, who find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time but can do so for the 60 seconds or so required for a race, did very well at BMX racing. The children with poor coordination not only became BMX winners but vastly improved their coordination from the BMX riding, which then enabled them to successfully compete in other sports. I was also particularly impressed to hear how the Cross Keys BMX Club had successfully engaged with Indigenous children, teaching them the skills of BMX riding and, importantly, making them feel included. In addition to all the fun of BMX riding, it is also an excellent fitness activity and, therefore, particularly relevant at a time when the government is investing in healthy lifestyle programs.

Organising a two-day championship is a huge responsibility, and I take this opportunity to commend all of the volunteers and sponsors involved. The championships were extremely well run and, given the number of competitors and events in the program, it was indeed a credit to all involved. I also acknowledge and congratulate the management committee and volunteers of the Cross Keys BMX Club, who as hosts had additional responsibilities. They did a fantastic job. The Cross Keys BMX Club boasts the best BMX track in South Australia, and that too is a credit to all of the club volunteers, who with the help of Salisbury Council maintain the facilities.

There were too many competitors and events to individually name the winners, but I take this opportunity to congratulate all of the competitors for having a go. I also thank their parents and family members for the support and encouragement they obviously give them. Lastly, I extend my best wishes to riders in future championships and wish Brian Kirkham, Anthony Dean and Sam Willoughby the best of luck in their quest for selection on the Australian BMX team for the 2012 Olympics.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): I want to know if the member for Makin participated in the BMX racing!

Mr ZAPPIA: No.