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Address on the occasion of the opening of the 5th INAS-FID World Athletics Championships.



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ADDRESS BY

HIS EXCELLENCY MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

ON THE OCCASION OF

THE OPENING OF THE 5TH INAS-FID WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

VIKINGS ERINDALE CLUB, WANNIASSA, ACT

26 SEPTEMBER 2005

·        Mr Jos Mulder, President of the INAS-FID, and Mrs Muldder ·        The Honourable Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory ·        Mr Michael Thomson, President, ACT Athletics ·        Mr Greg Hartung, President, Australian Paralympic Committee ·        Athletes ·        Ladies and gentlemen   I am delighted, with my wife Marlena, to be with you this evening to welcome athletes from twenty-two nations to Australia for this outstanding international event. In doing so I recognise the traditional owners.   The 5th World Athletics Championships, the first senior international event of its kind to be staged in the southern hemisphere, will, I am sure, fulfil its promise of providing thrilling, spirited competition for elite athletes.   I am also confident that this week will foster strong bonds of friendship amongst individuals and nations; friendships that will endure long after the championships have concluded.   These championships epitomise dignity, skill and endurance, whilst relaying compelling messages to the wider community by: • raising the awareness and understanding of elite athletes with an intellectual disability; and

• acting as a catalyst in helping eliminate prejudice and ignorance.

  This international meeting celebrates personal achievement, exacting preparation, talent, and team- building. It demonstrates that no goal is insurmountable. Thus each athlete can proudly and rightly say: "My success is measured by my courage and accomplishments."   This week of competition should be amongst the best athletes can experience. I hope you enjoy every moment, that you fulfil all your expectations, and that you reach or exceed your personal bests. But regardless of the results, you have already proven your high status in elite competition.   I am aware of what enormous efforts teams have made to be here, many of you visiting Australia for the first time. I want to say how delighted Australia is to welcome you to our shores, as individuals and as national teams.   I salute all the athletes as wonderful role models - for their determination to overcome extreme personal difficulties and for their achievements at the elite level of sport. Ladies and gentlemen. I know that these championships would not be possible without the guidance, good sense and goodwill of organisations such as the International Sports Federation for Persons with

Intellectual Disability, ACT Athletics, and the Australian Sport and Recreation Association for Persons

with an Intellectual Disability.   Also providing magnificent support are the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Paralympic Committee, Athletics Australia, athletic officials and enthusiastic, generous volunteers. Congratulations to you all on your wonderful planning and your success in transforming the seeds of an idea into an outstanding reality.   I wish all competitors the best of luck, and I am certain that through your enthusiasm and determination, the championships will achieve the great success they deserve. I trust that all our visitors will enjoy the warm friendship of the national capital, and we hope you return to Australia on many future occasions.   And so it is with great pleasure that I declare the 5th INAS-FID World Athletics Championships officially open.