03/12/2019 3:30 PM AEDT

Dylan Alcott On International Day Of People With Disability: 'If I Didn't Find Sport... I Would Not Be Speaking Today'

The Australian paralympian says he “hated having a disability” when younger, but playing sport changed that.

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Dylan Alcott of Australia pictured in September 2019.

Australian wheelchair basketballer, tennis player and three-time gold medal paralympian gold medallist Dylan Alcott has spoken about how he “hated having a disability” when younger, but grew to embrace himself over the years after he started playing sport. 

The 28-year-old has now launched a program that he hopes will encourage greater opportunities for young Australians with a disability will have the opportunity to participate in sport. 

“I was born with my disability and my early teenage years I actually hated having a disability. It was really tough for me,” Alcott told ABC AM’s Sabra Lane on Tuesday, the International Day of People with Disability.

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Dylan Alcott 

“One thing I struggled with the most was my brother started playing football, AFL and I remember I went down and wanted to get involved and I had to sit there and watch. And the club that he was at didn’t really have any way to integrate anybody with a disability, and I found that really hard.”

Alcott said his parents strongly advocated for him to be active and play sport, and for that he counts himself “so lucky”. 

“Without that, I probably wouldn’t have found sport and if I didn’t find sport, I can assure you, you and I would not be speaking today,” he said. 

On Tuesday the Get Skilled Access program Sports 4 All was launched in Canberra, with the Australian government providing $2 million towards the cause.

The program aims to help more Australians with a disability stay active, with education programs delivered to schools and local sport clubs.