In 2018, the Commonwealth Games Federation launched the Commonwealth GAPS programme, a ground-breaking initiative aimed at promoting sport for development throughout the Commonwealth.
The programme is designed to support emerging athletes and coaches in their pursuit of excellence, breaking down barriers to participation and creating inclusive sport pathways for people with disabilities, women and girls. We are thrilled to announce the selection of three para-athletes and two coaches into this programme ahead of the 2023 Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, the first ever Youth Games to include para sport with 6 para athletics events on the programme.
This week, as part of the programme, athletes and coaches will travel to South Africa and stay in Stellenbosch & Cape Town. The athletes will compete in South Africa’s National Championships from 16-21 March 2023.
GAPS Trinbago 2023 Programme will focus on:
- Providing developing athletes and coaches with development opportunities to prepare for the Commonwealth Youth Games
- A competition opportunity to support qualification standards
- A pre-screening opportunity for classification
The GAPS programme has selected three talented para-athletes: Rosie Porter who competes in the T38 category, Vincent Forkner, a runner in the T47 class and Bebe Jackson, a discus thrower. These individuals have all been identified as potential stars of the future, along with coaches Cathy Walker and Mike Martin who were also selected.
Speaking on her passion for competing, para-athlete Rosie Porter commented, ‘‘Being on the track makes me feel really happy. I love my training and learning news drills. Sometimes it can be hard, but I like a challenge, and when I improve, I feel I have achieved something.’’
Para-athlete Vincent Forkner, who lives with Cystic Fibrosis, shared how his passion for running has positively impacted his condition. The experience was transformative for Vincent as he harnessed the power of sport to manage his Cystic Fibrosis: ‘’I have a natural ability to run, I started 100m and 200m and found that I am fast, which started to make me feel healthier and help with my Cystic Fibrosis.’’
Despite only training in throws for less than two years, Bebe Jackson is motivated about her future in the sport, ‘’I am doing this sport as it is something I love to do. My coach Dave and I have been practicing a full- turns in training and are very confident in my next competition my distance will improve. ‘’
We’re excited to see the development of these rising para-athletes and coaches through the GAPS program, ahead of the upcoming 2023 Trinbago Games.
Selection on the GAPS Trinbago 2023 Programme does not guarantee qualification or selection to the CGA’s Team for Trinbago 2023 CYG.