13 March, 2024

Baulch shares importance of All Abilities program

The Access for All Abilities sports program has been vital for Indya Baulch for the majority of her life.

By Chris Graetz

Indya Baulch with her 'Local Athlete of the Year' award at the Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly Awards Night on February 16.
Indya Baulch with her 'Local Athlete of the Year' award at the Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly Awards Night on February 16.

The program is a Victorian Government initiative coordinated by Sport and Recreation Victoria. It's the only sport and recreation program of its type in Australia.

For over 10 years the program has, and continues to support and develop inclusive sport and recreation opportunities for people with a disability throughout the Wimmera region.

The program features football, netball, lawn bowls, swimming, ten pin bowling, table tennis and basketball. Outside of the program, athletes also get an opportunity to compete in The Tri-State Games against their peers which is an annual week-long sporting event for people with disabilities.

At the Wimmera Regional Assembly Sports Star of the Year awards on February 16, Indya won the Axis Employment Local Athlete of the Year award.

At the Tri-State Games, Indya won Gold in the 'Walk across the pool', Silver in 'basketball throw' and '25m walk' and Bronze in 'Discus'. She was also crowned Best and Fairest after the Whippets netball season.

Indya is 26 and is turning 27 in April and said the all abilities program is very important and has been a big part of her life.

"It brings everyone together to have fun and try new things. I have made a lot of lifelong friends out of the program," Indya said.

"Without the program I wouldn't be doing any sport and I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing.

"For me, it's about creating fun memories with friends and just making it last with them and making the most of it."

Indya's favourite sport is netball and basketball and said Rebecca McIntyre, who runs the basketball program is an amazing person.

"She is just an amazing person and coach and she is just a really good person," Indya said.

With the Tri-State Games, Indya started in 2017. One year she received a trophy for A Grade best female athlete of the year. Over the years she has won countless medals from gold, silver and bronze as well as ribbons.

The Tri-State Games have a wide range of sports for everyone.

Indoor sports feature Table Tennis, Carpet Bowls, Darts, Big Bobs, Quoits, Eight Ball, Basketball Throw, Bean Bag Throw and Putting.

Track and Field include track races from 25m to 400m, Wheelchair races, Long Jump, Standing Long Jump, Shot Put, Bean Bag Distance Throw, Tennis Ball Throw, Discus, Bean Bag Throw, Football Distance and Accuracy kicks.

Swimming features all four strokes - freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly over 25m and 50m with freestyle featuring a 100m event. It also features walk across the pool as well as Noodle/Kickboard/Barbell across the pool.

Team Sports include Tenpin Bowling, Tee Ball, Indoor Cricket, Bocce, Petanque, Soccer, Basketball, Tennis, Sit Down Volleyball and Croquet.

Indya said that whilst she participates in a lot of events, it is the discus she loves the most.

"It's hard to explain why, I just love discus. I love doing it," she said.

Indya's mum, Fiona, said the beauty about the Tri-State Games is they cater for everyone.

"It doesn't matter how light or severe the disability is - they cater for everyone. That one game is for everyone that will have a go," Fiona said.

"I think they like to get together and hang out more than anything with the socialising and partying they get to do."

When Indya was notified she was nominated for the award at the Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly, she said she was very happy.

"I was shocked, but at the same time I was really happy and proud," Indya recalled.

"They called me on the Wednesday and I screamed down the phone in excitement.

"When I rang my family to tell them I was nominated, I was excited and may have let one tear go down my face."

Fiona said she was proud of her daughter.

"It was a pretty proud moment because the all access disability association is excluded from some awards and I am very proud of her," Fiona said.

Indya credits her family for supporting her.

"My family has been nothing but an amazing support for me the last 26 years and I wouldn't be here without them," Indya said.

When asked what advice Indya can give to other people with disabilities that may not know much about the program or might be tentative about joining, she said to come and have a look.

"If you are unsure to try something, please go and have a look," Indya said.

"If you are thinking about it and find it interesting, just have a try and if you like it, just join in and have fun.

"Having fun is the most important thing and you can make a lot of great friends out of it. Please give it a go. You won't regret it."


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