The Commonwealth Games

Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:00):

Can I just begin by congratulating the member for Colton on bringing forward this, his first private member's motion and obviously a motion he has a lot of knowledge of and involvement with through his participation in the Commonwealth Games and the Paralympics as well as being one of South Australia's great Paralympians and champions. So congratulations to the member for Colton for his initiative in this motion.

I do not want to speak for too long, but I just want to congratulate all Australian able-bodied and para sports athletes who participated in the recent Commonwealth Games up on the Gold Coast, which were a fantastic success, especially for those South Australian athletes. The time, effort and determination that athletes put into their sports are amazing, and they should be so proud of all they do in representing their state and, more broadly, their nation. The Australian athletes should be particularly proud of their performance, ranking first in the medal tally, with 198 gold, silver and bronze medals.

In particular, obviously quite a few South Australians did exceptionally well at the Commonwealth Games, but I want to talk about one South Australian in terms of his results and efforts at the games—that is, Mr Alex Porter. Alex Porter is a local in my electorate of Waite, and his efforts are just fantastic. This year alone Alex has participated in the Tour Down Under here in Adelaide, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the track nationals and, of course, the Commonwealth Games.

Alex also participated in the 4,000 metres team pursuit in the world championships in Hong Kong last year, the team ranking first. As world champions, there was a lot of pressure going into the Commonwealth Games for our team pursuit members. I congratulate Alex on his gold medal winning performance in the 4,000 metres team pursuit. I want to congratulate Alex and his team on not only winning the gold medal but also their record-breaking time of three minutes, 49 seconds. The team smashed not only the Commonwealth Games record but also the world record in that event. Alex is only 21 years old, and I am sure he will be a fixture in the cycling calendar for many, many years to come. I certainly look forward to following his achievements, and I am sure his selection and participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a sure thing.

I also want to recognise all the family members and the partners of the athletes who competed. Athletes do not reach selection for the Commonwealth Games alone; it involves many, many years of support from parents, paying the sports fees, driving their children to events and to training, especially, as the member for Colton alluded to in his maiden speech, in the swimming, where most of the practice is done in the wee hours of the morning. So all those parents who have supported their children to achieve their ambition by participating in the Commonwealth Games I think are truly to be commended.

The Australian Institute of Sport has been recently conducting research into the benefits that the early support of family and friends has on the development of an athlete. The research has demonstrated that the type of support parents provide can include helping with physical preparation, emotional and financial support, technical advice and providing access to appropriate coaching. Parents play a huge role, and for any potential athletes looking forward to participating in future games, getting their parents on board is so important. Partners also provide a great support service to the athletes by providing a home to come back to and comfort when sporting glory is not always achieved; at times, that is not too dissimilar to politics as well.

I want to once again congratulate all the athletes on their performance at the Commonwealth Games, whether they won medals or not. It is an amazing achievement to be selected as an athlete in an Australian team for any sport, and I wish them all the best in their endeavours. As the member for Reynell touched on in her contribution, I also had the opportunity to spend a day or two at the Commonwealth Games, particularly watching the swimming. The absolute pride of the Australian competitors participating, and also of course that of those from around the Commonwealth, was just immense. It is to be commended that sport brings out the best in all of us most of the time, and I think that at these Commonwealth Games we certainly saw that happen.