The UQ Rebels All Abilities team has won the state championship at the Queensland Touch Football Senior State Cup on Saturday 30 November after winning a nail biting gold medal match against Southern Storm 2-1.
This win has come after touch Football Australia’s launch of a code first, All Abilities Touch Football Program.
This new inclusive program provides opportunities for people with intellectual and/or physical impairments to play touch football with their family members, carers, friends, elite football players and the wider community.
The UQ Rebels has made its mark in the inaugural program with a winning team of 10 specialised athletes and four teammates (athletes without a diagnoses).
Rather than being in a specialised division, the UQ Rebels competed in the Men’s Division 2 competition.
The team, while mostly made up of men, featured two female members; one specialised athlete and one team mate.
The age of the specialised athletes in the UQ Rebels team is 14 to 28 years old.
This fully inclusive model gives athletes of all genders, ages and abilities the opportunity to be a part of a team and compete in a representative tournament.
UQ Rebels All Abilities team member Michael Cox said that the team has given him the opportunity to fit in and make life long friends in a supportive environment.
“I feel more included and that I am a part of the team,” said Cox.
“It has been fun meeting new people and playing in a team.
“We have played with many different players from other Rebel teams and it has been a great experience where I feel that I am a part of a real team.”
UQ Rebels All Abilities Team went through the competition undefeated, with victories over the Southern Storm, Ballina Bull Sharks, Gold Coast Touch and Palm Beach Stingrays in the round stages and Southern Storm in the Grand Final.
Reagan Taylor, another member of the UQ Rebels All Abilities Team said that it has been such a positive experience playing in a representative tournament.
“I was nervous about not knowing anyone, if I would fit in and if people would like me,” Taylor said.
“Everyone has accepted me.
“I make mistakes sometimes but they say it is okay we are all here to just have fun.”
The UQ Rebels All Abilities team’s Grand Final win can be viewed via Queensland Touch Football’s YouTube Channel.