To get to the 2022 World Cup in Spain, the Pararoos are raising funds with the Undefeated Challenge. To tell us more, we sat down with Pararoo vice-captain and advocate, Benny Roche
*This interview has been edited from the original for the sake of brevity.
For those that don’t already know, tell us a little bit about the Pararoos.
The Pararoos are Australia’s National Football Team for athletes with Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury or symptoms resulting from stroke.
The Pararoos were actually created originally for the Sydney Paralympic Games, commencing in 1988 in preparation for the games. The team has gone from strength to strength since then.
For us, the Pararoos are a conversation around inclusion and disability - that’s what we’re all about!
In celebration of World Cerebral Palsy Day, the Pararoos are taking part in the Undefeated Challenge - tell us a little bit about this!
Undefeated is our team motto.
That no matter your disability or challenges you face, you can remain undefeated.
This is our second year doing the Undefeated Challenge. It kicks off Monday the 4th of October (today!!) and it runs for a week. And you essentially set your own challenge.
Whether you want to run, walk, ride or wheel - you set your distance or activity, attempt to smash it out in a week while raising funds for the Pararoos at the same time.
The funds raised will be put towards the Pararoos going to the 2022 World Cup in Spain. For us it's about getting there, competing against the best in the world and inspiring the next generation of kids with disabilities coming through.
What does access to football and sport unlock for differently abled individuals more broadly?
Football has the ability to change the world, break the cycle of poverty, empower communities and empower individuals. For us, the Pararoos, we’ve felt that first hand.
We want to give people that same opportunity.
Football has taken me around the world and played such a big part in developing who I am as a human being.
If we can give that to other people and let them have the same experiences, that’s the best thing in the world.
If you want to take part in the Undefeated Challenge or donate to the cause - head to the Pararoos website and get involved!
Follow Benny’s journey on Instagram.