Paralympics Australia has revealed its impressive team Indigenous-inspired uniform their athletes will wear at Tokyo 2020.
The unveiling was made during National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, a celebration held across the country each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The 2020 Australian Paralympic Team uniform features an Indigenous design representing Australia’s eight States and Territories, created by Indigenous artist, Rheanna Lotter.
The Paralympic team previously wore an Indigenous pattern on its uniform in 2016, but Chef de Mission of the 2020 Australian Paralympic Team, Kate McLoughlin says the 2020 design will bring added significance.
“We’re extremely proud that our Paralympians will celebrate our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultural heritage at Tokyo 2020.
“In 2016, our athletes were honoured to wear something that celebrated Indigenous Australia’s rich history and culture, and for Tokyo, we wanted to make the feature more prominent and for the meaning to make a bigger impact on our team.
“The circles in green and gold represent our land and each have tracks between them to indicate the interconnectedness between the athletes, despite coming from different places and different backgrounds.
“Boomerangs are scattered through the pattern to highlight the challenges, and setbacks faced and overcome by athletes as they head towards the Games.
“They also represent tools of determination and an expression of the team’s fierce competitive spirit.
“The tracks represent the animal spirits guiding the journey and protecting athletes,” Ms McLoughlin explains.
Indigenous Paralympians, Torita Blake and Amanda Reid say they will wear the uniforms with a sense of pride.
“All Aboriginal artwork tells a story and in the Paralympics, all athletes have a different story,” Ms Blake says.
“I am a proud Indigenous woman from the Dhungutti people and I’m proud to represent the longest living culture in the world.
“We all wear the green and gold with pride but to be wearing Indigenous art like this is amazing and for the entire Australian team to be doing that too, it’s so special.”
Ms Reid says, “As an Aboriginal person, it’s amazing to wear a piece of Aboriginal art designed by an Aboriginal person. It means inclusion too – it is celebrating Indigenous culture by bringing the team altogether. As one, as a Mob.”