In a first for the Victoria, an Auskick program targeted at the Asian community has been launched in Wyndham.
Asian Business Association of Wyndham (ABAW) members Larry Zhao and Aaron Zhang, who are both AFL community ambassadors, developed the Oriental Lions Auskick Program with support from the Australian Football League.
The first session of the Auskick program kicked off last month, with 25 children in attendance, at the Truganina Thunder Football Club’s ground.
The club’s president Nick Ladbrooke and his team facilitated the event, with support from co-organiser Rainbow International Selective Education (RISE) Group, a community-based professional education service provider.
“I am very happy that the ABAW can co-operate with AFL to bring Auskick to Wyndham and let more Asian children take part in Australia’s most representative sports,” Mr Zhao said.
At the Auskick event, AFL Victoria’s diversity coordinator Reuben William presented ABAW with a Western Bulldogs jersey, signed by Western Bulldogs player Lin Jong, who has Chinese ancestry.
Mr Zhang said Wyndham’s Chinese population has grown significantly in the last decade, including migrants and second generations from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Mr Zhang said the key aim of the Oriental Lions Auskick Program was to engage this population in organised sports like Aussie Rules by providing a safe, healthy, fun and inclusive environment.
“Especially for the young kids, we believed playing footy is also a good way to help them to build their confidence and connect with our community,” he said.
Point Cook Action Group (PCAG) president Bob Fairclough gave a speech to the youngsters participating in Auskick session, many whom were playing AFL for the first time.