Meet the Team: Linda Pulsan
In this edition we meet one of Papua New Guinea’s most prominent sportswomen who also works on the Team Up-supported Inclusive GymBad program, Linda Pulsan.
Linda Pulsan is a Pacific Games gold medalist in powerlifting, and a full-time coach for the Inclusive GymBad program in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
As a coach for the program, Linda works tirelessly to deliver sessions in schools and communities across Port Moresby.
“In my opinion, the program is having an impact because not many sports programs take their activities into the communities. Most people, particularly children with disabilities, don’t have the opportunity to travel out and participate in sport.
“The Inclusive GymBad program goes directly to them, to ensure they get that opportunity to participate and fully enjoy sport.”
The program is a modification of the fundamental skills of badminton and gymnastics and is aimed at reducing the barriers experienced by people with a disability, particularly women and girls, so they can participate equally and enjoy the full benefits of sport.
Linda was previously a national powerlifting representative for Papua New Guinea, winning multiple Pacific Games gold medals. With her vast experience in sport, she believes the power of the program lies in its inclusiveness.
“I run after-school sessions three days a week at 3-Mile community and deliver sessions at an all-girls hostel at the YWCA in 2-Mile. I also deliver sessions at Callan Services, a centre for children and adults with disabilities, every Thursday.
“I’ve noticed that, as the sessions progress, the participating girls become more confident, active and enthusiastic about being involved in sport. I have also observed and heard a lot of positive impacts from the staff and guardians at Callan Services. Some of the children have gained more flexibility and now move with minimal support.
Linda goes on to explain how some girls and women from the communities have expressed an interest in becoming coaches themselves.
“Several girls are excited to participate in teacher trainings and become coaches. Anyone can advance further in life, all it takes is commitment, dedication, and the right mindset.
“If I had to describe the program in one word, it would be ‘joy’. The girls and women at 2-Mile, 3-Mile and children at Callan Services bring so much joy to my work.
“Sometimes the girls at 2-Mile set up very early before the starting time. Seeing these changes in the children’s mobility, and the positive approach of the girls towards this program, has motivated me to do more and boosts me to deliver the best.”
Through the program, Linda has also participated in several capacity building activities.
“I feel valued and strengthened to keep doing my job. Doing the safeguarding training was my highlight. I try my best to deliver a safe, inclusive sports program.
The training reminded me that keeping myself safe helps me to keep others safe.”
The Inclusive GymBad program is delivered in partnership by Badminton Oceania, Badminton Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Gymnastics Federation, Oceania Gymnastics and Motivation Australia, and supported by Team Up.