Ari Gesini is a Para athlete who was awarded a Tier 1 Scholarship within the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and has been paired with SAHOF Member, and the most-capped Wallaby in Australian rugby history, George Gregan, as his Mentor.
Ari was born in Canberra in 2001 and specialises in long jump and 100m. He was born with mild cerebral palsy, a coordination impairment which affects his left side, and competes in the T38 classification.
Ari started athletics as a five-year-old in the ACT Para Athletics Talent Squad, and joined coach Iryna Dvoskina at age 13. He now trains under the guidance of Dvoskina and Head Coach Sebastian Kuzminski. As a 15-year-old, he represented Australia at the 2017 Junior Para Athletics Championships in Switzerland and won gold in the long jump.
In 2019, the 17-year-old finished fourth in the long jump at the Senior World Para Athletics Championships and recorded five personal bests. His 6.16m in the long jump is an all-time Oceania record and he set a new Australian record in the long jump. The pinnacle of Ari’s career so far was competing at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020 in the long jump and 100m.
Ari wants to go further. He is targeting the world record for the T38 long jump and wants to be the second person in history to clear 7m in this event. He also aspires to win gold at the Paralympic Games.
Ari speaks French and Italian and always changes socks after round three during long jump competitions. Off the track, the multi-lingual Ari is studying Bachelor of Politics and International Relations.
“It came as a big surprise and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this program. The SAHOF scholarship has provided me with a once in lifetime opportunity to talk to a sporting legend, George Gregan, one on one, something I’ll never forget. Over the next 12 months I hope to learn as much as I possibly can from George and to gain new wisdom and skills that will help me for the rest of my life.” – Ari Gesini on being selected as a 2021 Tier 1 Scholarship Holder.
“Ari is an impressive young man who I look forward to working with over the coming year(s). I feel privileged to be able to pass on some of my experiences, that can hopefully help Ari throughout his athletic career.” – Mentor George Gregan AM.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2017: Junior Para Athletics World Championships, Notwill Switzerland – Long Jump, 1st (U18)
- 2019: Dubai Para Athletics World Championships – Long Jump T38, 4th (5 PBs)
- 2019: Dubai Para Athletics World Championships – Long Jump T38, Australian record (at 17 years old)
- 2019: Dubai World Para Athletics Championships – 100m T38, 12th (International senior team debut, ran a PB and almost into the final)
- 2019: Arafura Games, Darwin – Long Jump, 3rd (3rd best jump and new junior record at the time)
- 2019: Arafura Games, Darwin – 4x100m mixed relay, 1st
- 2021: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 1
“Athletics Australia congratulates Ari on receiving this prestigious Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program. Ari is an outstanding young talent who is achieving great things in our sport, already notching up the all-time Australian record men’s T38 long jump of 6.16m at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai. To be mentored by George Gregan is an extraordinary honour for any athlete and the athletics community is excited to see where this scholarship and mentor program will lead for Ari.” – Athletics Australia CEO, Darren Gocher.