PHYSICAL activity can make a fundamental difference to disabled people’s quality of life owing to its potential of increasing independence.
To a larger extent, It can also benefit the live of the physically challenged as they would be eager to up competitive sports for a livelihood but yet, disabled people’s activity levels remain low.
Currently, many disabled sports are based on existing able bodied sports but modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability which are sometimes referred to as adapted sports.
However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in able-bodied sports.
The National Paralympics Committee (NPC) is a governing body that coordinates sports for the disabled in the country and has in the recent past, recorded some strides with regards to the increasing involvement of the physically challenged.
The qualification of weightlifter Richard Lubanza to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is an achievement that can be viewed as a hallmark of years preparations by the NPC and the athlete at large.
In essence, disabled people should have every opportunity to be as active as non-disabled people.
It is for this reason that the NPC is calling upon those involved in providing opportunities and supporting disabled people to live active lives to commit their support to the developing paralympics in the country.
“We believe that everyone, especially those within Government, sport, fitness, health, third sector and the media as well as those involved in communications, has the power to change minds and increase the number of active disabled people,” NPC vice chairperson Clement Chanda said.
“All we are appealing for from the corporate world and other well wishers is support, we have people with talent, who are eager to reap medals for the country.”
The NPC has since channeled the K5,000 monthly grant from the Ministry of Sports toward talent identification across the country.
Last week, scores of disabled people convened in Ndola to participate in various activities that included sitting volleyball, athletics and clutch football among other sports.
NPC national coordinator George Gondwe said the activities were meant at tapping talent from all parts of the country into the national teams.
“Taking into account that we will have one of our athletes competing in Brazil next year, we feel we have a huge reservoir of talent that can make us go beyond just having one athlete at the Olympics.
“We want to start getting ready for future international tournaments by ensuring that we have large of pool of athletes from which to select from,” Gondwe said.
It is therefore important that everyone from coaches and various sports associations are involved in providing sport or physical activity that will support disabled people to participate.
The media also have a vital role to play by ensuring all communications about sport and physical activity promotes positive public attitudes towards disabled people’s participation.
Increased investment in disability sport will promote increased participation in various physical activities and the Paralympians will be able to view being actively in sports as a viable lifestyle choice.
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