State of Origin II will attract massive interest tonight at Suncorp Stadium but a few kilometres down the M1 motorway a special Origin event took place today.
Four NSW-eligible Titans – Luke Douglas, Tyrone Roberts, Lachlan Burr and Ryan James – took on four young Queensland swimmers with Down syndrome, who are off to Italy next month to compete in the Trisome Games, in a 4 X 50m freestyle relay.
And it’s all part of the Aquis Gold Coast Titans’ support of Down Syndrome Association Queensland (DSAQ) and the young athletes who will be taking part in the Trisome Games world championships in Florence from 16-22 July.
Titans prop Douglas is an ambassador for DSAQ and when he learned that several Down syndrome athletes from the association were heading to the Games to compete in swimming, he was keen to bring awareness to their achievements and help- with fund-raising.
At one home game each year the Titans involve DSAQ in activities which includes Down Syndrome Association members running onto the field with both teams. That will take place again in our round 16 clash with Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium this Sunday. where both clubs will together to promote DSAQ’s ‘More alike than different’ campaign.
Click PLAY to watch a wonderful video of today's event
As a lead-up, and to celebrate State of Origin fever this week, we decided to give four world class swimmers - Michael, Taylor, Russell and Caitlin – a warm-up event at Miami pool where the Titans do their weekly recovery sessions.
Michael is the current world champion in the 50m freestyle and has represented Australia four times. Russell is the Australian record holder for the 25m freestyle and will be representing his country for a third time. In Mexico in 2014 he won silver in 25m freestyle, bronze in 25m butterfly, gold in the 4 x 25m freestyle and silver in the 4 x 25m medley relay.
Caitlin holds the Australian record for 25m backstroke and won a bronze medal at the last world championships in Mexico in the 50m butterfly. Taylor, who turns 21 this weekend, holds the Australian long course record for 50m freestyle and won several bronze and silver and medals in various events in Mexico.
The Titans players split into Maroons and Blues groups poolside to act as cheer squads during today’s big challenge.
The race went right down to the wire, with Michael slipping past Luke in the final few strokes.
There are now over 700 registered athletes from all six continents competing in swimming, athletics, table tennis, gymnastics, judo and Futsal at the games next month.
Trisome Games Sports Union for Down Syndrome (SU-DS) was formed to create opportunities for athletes with Down syndrome to compete in international sporting events, offering them a fair and equal opportunity to be successful. In the past, athletes with Down syndrome had to compete against all athletes with intellectual disabilities until it was recognised that they were being out classed in all large sporting events.
DSAQ do a tremendous job is assisting families affected by Down syndrome and this is the third year the Titans have dedicated a match to their activities. Many families will enjoy a day at the footy with some being given the corporate box of our major sponsor Aquis to make the day even more special.
“DSAQ are extremely important for families affected by down Syndrome,” said Down syndrome Swimming Australia president Simon Cox. “There are so many issues that families have never experienced before and its essential that there is a place to turn to for advice and direction.
“The youth social program is also a really important initiative.”
To donate and help the swimmers get to Italy, go to their fund-raising page - https://www.mycause.com.au/page/118860/aussie-gold-in-italy
For more details about DSAQ, go to their website dasq.org.au.
For information about the Trisome Games, click on http://dsiso.org.