ATHLETES from all walks of life gathered at Bendigo Major League Sports Centre on Tuesday for a day of excitement, ball games and socialising.
A joint partnership between NDIS provider Lifely and local disability organisations SportsRulz and Reclink Australia saw the sports centre transformed into a come and try sports day for local children and adults with disabilities.
Bendigo's very own Australian all abilities cricketing star Mitchell Lawrence was facilitating games in the nets and said the atmosphere was "amazing" to take in.
"Everyone's having a ball which is just amazing," he said.
"I've got no words, because to see so many smiles on people's faces - it's just unreal."
At just 21 years old, Mr Lawrence was selected for the all abilities Australian cricket training squad after his stellar performance representing Victoria in the National Cricket Inclusion Championship.
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The cricketer is now turning his attention to getting other people with disabilities involved in sport.
"When I was growing up there were barely any opportunities like this,'' he said.
"People with disabilities were mainly just wandering around or staying home.
"But nowadays, there's things everywhere, cricket, swimming, you know, everything, it's great."
Event organiser Rob Fisher said the day had been six months in the making, and coined it a success.
"One of my main goals is to get people from the disability sector active again, get out in the community playing sport, and doing activity," he said.
Mr Fisher said people with disabilities are at greater risk of isolation so events that bring them together were vitally important for their physical and mental wellbeing.
"People with disabilities are much more isolated than everyone else," he said.
"I've got two brothers with disabilities and I know personally, their health went downhill pretty quickly during the last 12 to 24 months of COVID.
"So something like this is an opportunity not only for physical exercise but also to grow their social networks by joining a club or jumping in on an activity where they can meet other people from similar backgrounds."
Sports on offer on the day included AFL, cricket, netball, badminton and baseball.
While the day was primarily to get people active and socialising, some serious talent was also on display.
Mitch Lawrence may have to work extra hard to keep his coveted position in the Australian squad given the tenacity of some of Tuesday's fast bowlers.
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