GIANTS recruit and Rugby 7s Gold Medallist Chloe Dalton was left devastated when she was ruled out of the Tokyo Olympics just weeks out from the Games with a broken cheekbone.
But she’s spent the last few months making a real difference, campaigning for equality for both para-athletes and women across the country.
GIANTS Media caught up with Dalton for an update on how she’s recovered and the two campaigns she’s been running on her Female Athlete Project platform.
It was while watching the recent Paralympics from home that Dalton learned that Paralympic athletes are not entitled to the same medal bonuses that she herself received as an Olympian.
Olympians receive $20,000 for winning gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze, paid by the Australian Olympic Committee, while Paralympians were set to receive no bonuses for their achievements.
“It came out only a couple of weeks ago that Paralympians didn’t receive any money when they win a medal," Dalton said.
“To me, I was really disappointed to hear that. I was really shocked and I think there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be receiving those same medal bonuses.”
Dalton used her social platforms to begin a Go Fund Me campaign that has so far raised more than $80,000 to be split amongst the para-athlete medallists.
A few days into her campaign, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced that the federal government would fund Paralympics Australia to ensure all medallists would receive the same bonuses.
“I wanted to use my platform that we created, where we knew we had people who were passionate about gender equality but would also be passion about equality for para-athletes as well,” she said.
“The thing I loved the most is how many people were similarly outraged by it and used their voice … it was really cool to see the way we can actually make change when people get on board things they’re passionate about.”
But Dalton hasn’t stopped there. Along with surfer Lucy Small, the pair are leading a campaign to legislate equality in sport across NSW.
Earlier this year Small won the Curly Maljam pro-surfing event on Sydney’s northern beaches but received less than half the prize money of the men’s winner.
Their petition went live this week, aiming to ensure there’s equality across all sports - large or small.
“It’s called ‘Equal pay for equal play in NSW’ and the idea is that there’s a policy in place to ensure that clubs and sporting organisations in NSW have gender equality policies in place across their organisation,” Dalton said.
“Whether it’s for players, coaches or officials, it’s so at grassroots level there’s equality for young girls coming through those ranks.”
Meanwhile, Dalton has still been preparing for the upcoming 2021/22 AFLW season and recently spent some time in Melbourne training with captain Alicia Eva and former GIANT Heath Shaw.
She's also almost recovered from the extensive facial surgery required following the Rugby 7s injury.
“I’m about nine or 10 weeks post-op now, I have three plates put into my face after the cheekbone fracture and it’s all recovered really well,” Dalton said.
“It’s another couple of weeks of non-contact and then I’ll be back into it full-swing.”
Having landed back in Sydney, she’s now training alongside the main group as pre-season gets set to begin later this month.
“I’m just loving being around it,” she said.
“Everything I’d heard before getting to the club was just that it was a really good bunch of people and the culture of the team was really strong and I’ve just felt really welcomed.
“I almost felt like I was a teenager at high school on my first day at the club, being somewhere new. It’s quite scary, no matter how long you’ve been playing sport for.
“They made it a really nice and welcoming experience for me which was awesome and I can’t wait to keep getting prepped for the season.”
The GIANTS will officially begin pre-season on October 13 with the new season set to kick off in January.