Group for disabled athletes planned
THE roar of the crowd as Callum Shute walked onto the field to represent Australia was something he will never forget.
The wicketkeeper played in the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games at Newcastle in 2013 and said the experience was "mind-boggling".
"It was chilling, walking out onto that field from the dressing room and through the tunnel, the sound of the spikes on the concrete and the crowd hitting the chairs and roaring," he said.
And the Special Olympian wants to help South Burnett athletes with a disability reach their goals and experience what he has.
Shute is planning to establish a Special Olympics program in Kingaroy and Nanango.
"They are only 15 minutes apart and between them they can offer every sport in the Special Olympics," he said.
His family will move to the South Burnett next year and Shute said he wanted a club up and running as soon as possible.
"It's a club that offers people with an intellectual disability the opportunity to get involved in sport," he said.
Shute has represented Queensland and Australia in cricket and soccer for the past four years and said now he wanted to share his knowledge and skills.
"I've decided I would like to be more of a president and a coach and help people with a disability participate," he said.
"I would like to get a couple of former teammates and get them out there to share some of their stories and experiences of competing ... and just talk with them."
After being involved in the Gympie Special Olympics program, Shute has seen what works and hopes to replicate that club's success.
"I'd like to start getting a bit of leg work down and looking at numbers, going out to schools and special education classes and drumming up some interest," he said.
"Sports like soccer require a fair few numbers, but the sports (we could offer) really just depend on what sort of numbers we could get."
There are a wide range of potential sports that could be covered including soccer, golf, cricket, swimming, horse riding, tennis and table tennis.
Shute is well suited to coaching future athletes, having been picked as one of the vice-captains for the Australia A cricket team.
"It was an amazing opportunity and I couldn't wait to wear the green and gold, make new friends and participate in front of family and friends," he said.
If you are interested in getting involved , email sport@southburnett times.com.au.