Future Paralympians take part in ‘Get inspired festival’


Minister Meriton speaking to those who took part in Saturday’s session

Representatives of the deaf, and blind associations, School for the Exceptional Child and the rehabilitation centre, parents, coaches and other volunteers took part in the fun-filled day run by Rwanda National Paralympics Committee boss Dominique Bizimana.

Mr Bizimana, who represented Rwanda at last year’s Paralympics Games in London, United Kingdom but has since retired from playing sitting volleyball, has said he is committed to popularising the sport and helping Seychelles engage itself in joining the International Paralympics Committee.

A Tutsi, Mr Bizimana lost the lower half of his left leg fighting for the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Mr Bizimana is on a mission here together with Elias Musangeya, senior development consultant at UK Sport.

Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton, National Sports Council chief executive Alain Volcère were on hand to see for themselves how the locals get along learning to play sitting volleyball, boccia and goalball.

Mr Musangeya told Sports Nation last week that they want to support the development of Paralympics in Seychelles and had noticed that Seychelles has the capacity but needed strategic support.

To be able to compete at the Paralympics, Seychelles first has to set up a local Paralympics association which will be affiliated to the International Paralympics Committee by September this year.
Messrs Musangeya’s and Bizimana’s visit here was made possible by the Seychelles government and the British high commission.

Mr Bizimana (fifth from right) giving instructions during the boccia rehearsal

Their visit has come less than a year after Minister Meriton represented President James Michel, who had been invited by the UK government, at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics Games (from August 29 to September 9, 2012).

In his meeting with Henry Bellingham MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who has the ministerial portfolio for Africa, Minister Meriton discussed the possibility of working in partnership with the UK to develop sports and the social renaissance initiative here.

The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event, involving athletes with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy.

There are winter and summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee.

Classification is a unique element of Paralympic sports, intended to ensure fair competition. As each sport at the Paralympic Games requires different skills and competencies, the impact of impairment on the performance of the athletes varies. This is why it is important for each sport to have its own unique classification rules.

G. G.

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