QUT Sport technology van on the lookout for untapped Queensland talent as the 2032 Olympics approach
With less than ten years on the clock, a Queensland university is bringing performance measurement technologies and esports to remote and regional communities, with hopes of unlocking potential Olympic and Paralympic talent.
The Queensland University of Technology's "Sport Tech Van" houses a range of technologies, including ebikes, a golf simulator, reaction time equipment, broadcasting equipment and esports computers.
QUT Indigenous Sports Officer Rickie Dodd, who is taking the van around the state, said he wants children in remote communities to enjoy the same opportunities that those in the city have on their doorstep.
"Growing up in a small community myself, we weren't exposed to this… you have to leave the community to get these opportunities," he said
"It is sad, but it is the reality."
'There is so much talent that people don't know about'
Mr Dodd said data collected by the measurement technologies – like the reaction time test, vertical jump test, and the grip-strength test — could help identify promising athletes.
QUT student Seamus Malone travelled with the van on a recent trip to Kowanyama, in Far North Queensland.
"There is so much talent up there that people don't know about, so it is very interesting going up there and seeing what they can do," Mr Malone said.
The van was also brought along to the Queensland Murri Rugby League Carnival, where the ebikes struck a chord with keen player, Lindsey Major-Booth.
"It's so good and just great to have something different," she said.
Showing kids 'what opportunities are out there'
While esports have proved popular among participants so far, the van isn't just about computers.
Just about "every kid plays computer games", and there are opportunities to use them to develop transferable skills, Mr Dodd said.
"You're not going to make a living gaming, but every sport needs a broadcaster, a commentator, officiators, and tech people to set it all up," he said.
Mr Dodd hopes the van will help open education pathways for children in remote communities, and "show them what opportunities are out there".