Participants from NDIS providers from across the region attended the 40th annual OCTEC Forbes Special Sports Day, held annually at the Red Bend College and operated by the founder, Dianne Decker AM.
Starting in 1981, the sports day involved wheelchair sports held at the Forbes Showground. A few years later many of these participants were involved in the Paralympics which led to the sports day evolving into a day for intellectually disabled participants to be included. Many schools from Canberra, Sydney and the Central West became involved at this time and students were able to compete in events such as swimming and athletics races.
Now 40 years on, the Special Sports Day is held at Red Bend College with the students assisting in all aspects of the day for the visiting schools including organising the races, calling the races and being sup-porters of everyone visiting.
“The day is about inclusiveness, having fun and participating in different sports events with others from around NSW,” said Dianne Decker.
“It would not be a Forbes Special Sports Day without each school and group marching in their sports colours to the playing of bagpipes and the Red Bend drummers,” she said.
“This day could not operate each year without the ongoing support of OCTEC, Molly Nelson running the cafe and the Red Bend College and its students.”
During it’s time, the event has attracted schools from Sydney and Canberra and while it may be more regionally focused nowadays it never stopped Thomas Da-vis of Currajong Disability Services having fun at the event. “It’s a great day to catch up with friends especially since COVID stopped last year’s event,” he said.
Neil Hamilton of Currajong also commented on how much all the participants love the day out. “They all enjoy it and already they are planning next year!”