Five Ballarat athletes who represented their country at the Paralympic Games have been honoured as part of a ceremony to officially open the Ballarat Paralympic Sports Avenue.
Robert (Sandy) Blythe, Brad Dubberley, Gregory Smith OAM, Peter Tait and Jodi Willis-Roberts OAM became the first athletes to have plaques in their honour added to the new avenue at Lake Wendouree.
The Ballarat Paralympic Sports Avenue is believed to be the first memorial to honour Paralympians in regional Australia.
The avenue design embodies the principles of the Paralympic movement and its motto of “spirit in motion”.
The avenue is located next to the Ballarat Olympic Precinct at the south west corner of Lake Wendouree. Funded by the City of Ballarat, the avenue was built in 2018.
Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said the Ballarat Paralympic Sports Avenue was a wonderful tribute to the achievements of local Paralympians.
“Ballarat is a proud sporting city and home to many sporting high achievers, so it’s fitting we are now home to regional Australia’s first monument to our Paralympians.”
“Ballarat has played a part in the journey of each of these athletes and we are proud to honour them and their outstanding achievements here.”
Jock O’Callaghan, President of Paralympics Australia said: “To our knowledge, the Ballarat Paralympic Sports Avenue is a first for regional Australia which is a wonderful testament to the leadership of the City of Ballarat.”
“Ballarat has a rich sporting history and it now holds a unique place in the heart of the Australian Paralympic movement.
“We are thrilled for the five athletes who have been recognised in this way and it is our hope that their profile in the community and their feats can inspire future generations to fulfil their own potential.”