Kurt Fearnley arrived at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games wanting to make a statement both on and off the track.
Commonwealth Games organisers strived to make it the most inclusive event yet
Kurt Fearnley says he is staggered by the level of support for para-athletes
Fearnley wins silver in final track race
True to form, the three-time Paralympic gold medallist produced one of his trademark gutsy displays to finish second in the T54 1,500 metres final at Carrara Stadium on Tuesday night, while he will now get ready to make his farewell appearance in Australian colours in Sunday’s marathon.
But Fearnley’s most powerful message did not come through his dogged performance in winning a silver medal.
As he met the media to reflect on the 1,500m final, the 37-year-old delivered an impassioned address calling for Australia to embrace inclusion of people with disabilities and use the example of the 2018 Commonwealth Games as a template as to how this can be achieved.
Games organisers set out to make the Gold Coast edition the most inclusive yet and Fearnley believes they delivered on their promise.
Seven sports are being contested by a record 300 para-athletes, which is a 45 per cent increase on the number of participants in the 2014 Games in Glasgow.