Polytan, Closing the Gap for athletes with disability

Polytan strives to break down barriers to promote inclusivity for athletes with disability at a local community sporting level. Polytan is the leader in custom-designed sports facility construction, offering the full-service of design & engineering, construction and facility maintenance.

Polytan recognises the importance of catering for sports people of all abilities. In May 2017 they developed the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre in Newcastle, NSW, which included a custom designed outside running lane of greater width than the average athletics track lane, to allow wheelchair-using athletes to compete against competitors without disability. Scott Westcott, Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre Facilities Manager, marvelled as participation rates increased dramatically – in its first season the Newcastle City Little Athletics Club doubled its numbers since the resurfacing, growing from 110 to 220 Little Athletes!”

Since this revolutionary project, Polytan began making accessibility a priority in all of their projects. More recently Polytan worked with Christchurch City Council to design and construct an all-inclusive facility at the Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch, NZ. This facility included a seated throwing frame for discus and shot-put. This frame included ties to stabilise a wheelchair, but still allowing athletes to spin in their wheelchair to complete their throw. Polytan also designed and installed a long jump sand pit, which was widened by 720mm to provide those with a visual impairment more space for landing their jumps.

Pull Down Ties

Image of Pull Down Ties to lock in seated throwing frame

Long Jump Sand Pit where the width can be extended to help those who are visually impaired.

Image of Long Jump Sand Pit. Width can be extended to help those with a visual impairment.

Polytan has noticed that participation rates at inclusive facilities increase significantly amongst both athletes with and without disability, as communities want to support and encourage everyone to participate in sport and recreational activities.  Polytan is dedicated to educating local councils and sporting clubs/organisations on the benefits of inclusive sporting facilities and recommending features that encourage inclusivity.

“We want to see every state and territory in Australia embrace athletics tracks with dedicated wheelchair facilities.  Polytan will provide advice and education to any facility looking to become inclusive and wishing to increase sport participation for the entire community,” explains Paul Kamphuis, General Manager of Polytan Asia Pacific.

Polytan is aiming for every athletics project they design and construct to include facilities that cater for athletes with a disability to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in and enjoy their local sporting activities.

If you would like to know more about affordable ways to make your sporting venue more inclusive, contact Polytan on 1800 663 812.