UK Paralympic delegation on mission here


Messrs Musangeya (third left) and Bizimana (second left) at the meeting with Minister Meriton and his team yesterday morning

Other than sitting volleyball, there will also be goalball and boccia for everyone to see.
Mr Bizimana, who represented Rwanda at last year’s Paralympics Games in London, United Kingdom, has since retired from playing sitting volleyball but is committed to popularising the sport and helping Seychelles engage itself in joining the International Paralympics Committee.

A Tutsi who lost the lower half of his left leg fighting for the Rwandan Patriotic Front, Mr Bizimana is accompanying Elias Musangeya, senior development consultant at UK Sport, and yesterday morning they held talks with Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton, community development and sports principal secretary Denis Rose, National Sports Council chief executive Alain Volcère, and Dan Frichot, special adviser on community development to the Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports.

Speaking to Sports Nation, Mr Musangeya, holder of a doctorate degree in education and former director general of Zimbabwe sports and recreation, said: “We are two on a mission and we are action-oriented.”

“We’ve had a very good meeting with Minister Meriton and his team. When the United Kingdom hosted the Paralympic Games last year, it wanted the games to have a legacy – supporting Paralympics movement in the world.

“We want to support the development of Paralympics in Seychelles. We have noticed that Seychelles has the capacity but needs strategic support,” said Mr Musangeya, who noted that they are here thanks to the Seychelles government and the British high commission.

The first thing Seychelles has to do is set up a local Paralympics association which will be affiliated to the International Paralympics Committee by September this year. This way the country will benefit from many opportunities and get to compete in the Paralympics Games.

Messrs Musangeya and Bizimana, who arrived here last Sunday and leave on March 30, stressed the need for a collaborated effort between all the ministries and departments.

“Alone one can’t do much. This is why we have already met representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health,” stressed Mr Musangeya who added that “physical literacy is very important in sports”.

Yesterday afternoon, the two experts met representatives of the deaf, and blind associations, School for the Exceptional Child and the rehabilitation centre to explain the demands of the Paralympics, which Mr Musangeya said are very high level competitions.

Messrs Musangeya’s and Bizimana’s visit comes 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.

Minister Meriton used the occasion to present Minister Bellingham with two project proposals with the potential of strengthening bilateral ties. These were the Physical Education and School Sports (PESS) programme and the social renaissance initiative.

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.

A sitting volleyball match

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.

The sports that featured in the last Paralympic Games in London last year are archery, athletics, boccia, road cycling, track cycling, equestrian, five-a-side football,  seven-a-side football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, sailing, shooting, sitting, volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

G. G.