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Indigenous sporting icons transition to elite coaching roles

Joseph Guenzler -

Shanna-Ann Casimiro, known for her precision on the hockey field, is now forging a different path.

Transitioning from player to coach, she is part of a select group of 12 Indigenous coaches from across Australia.

Under the guidance of top Olympians like Kaanju man, Patrick Johnson, they are advancing to elite coaching roles.

The fastest man in recorded Australian history, having ran a 9.93s 100m in 2003, notes room for improvement in Indigenous representation within the Australian Olympic movement.

"It's also about changing the system to actually ensure thewy are welcomed.. you create the cultural awareness training but also understanding what it means," Mr Johnson told the ABC.

"You need to create culturally safe practices, education and awareness and that's part of the role we play here."

The focus extends beyond mentoring, involving reshaping the system for greater inclusivity.

The goal is clear - more Indigenous coaches leading to increased participation.

In sports like hockey, where Indigenous representation is currently limited, community outreach becomes essential.

Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong Footballer, once a budding Hockey star, Travis Carroll, echoes that sentiment, telling the ABC: "There's not much Indigenous hockey players - being out in the community now we're just getting more people into the sports."

The 18-month coaching program, with Katherine as the inaugural destination, sets the stage for these coaches to fan out across the country, honing their skills to train the next generation.

The impact of these mentors on the children they engage with holds the potential to shape their athletic journeys.

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