Sports for persons with disabilities
Sport for persons with disabilitiesis very close to my heart. The physical benefits of sport are huge but the social benefits are massive. I’ve loads of respect for the sports people who take part in individual events but team sports, with participants at differentfitness and skill levels, tickle my fancy. For me the social impact is greaterin team sports and I love the group dynamics and diversity of large groups.
It was great to be at the Hermanus Wheels and Runners earlier this month. Not even four seasons in one day couldput a dampener on it. The showers brought groups of people closer as they tookcover under umbrellas and marquees!
It takes long hours, hard work,careful co-ordination and loads of money to put together an event like this,and I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who assisted the organisingcommittee. You were great.
Some of my experiences were a bitlike the weather - dark and damp, or windy with clouds, with some brilliantlybright and sunny weather in between.
The mayor of Hermanus said that themost important people at the event were the athletes with the disabilities. Shewas so right. I know many who trained and conditioned themselves for weeksprior to the event and it showed in their results.
It was also a social event. Peoplewere happy and mingling and chatting away while enjoying the festive atmosphereafter the races. A ray of sunshine.
Imagine all the time and effort the registrationprocess requires - on top of the preparations for the event. Some of my friendswho rely on Dial–a–ride appreciated the accessible, affordable and safetransport from Cape Town to Hermanus but it is important to arrive in time toparticipate in the races! I hope that some lessons were learnt that will ensurethat this does not happen again.
There were other highs and lows forme - like the differences in performance between athletes with top-of-the-rangeequipment and those with government issued wheelchairs. Seeing thedetermination, effort and acheivements of the have-nots was a high. Having tocompete against people with differing functionalities is also a reality.
Not everyone is born with theproverbial silver spoon and not everyone is dealt the same hand. How we reactand respond to challenges determines who we are and who we will turn out to be.
Opportunities and rights areguaranteed in our legislation. The playing fields should be level but they are not. Goalposts should notbe shifted but they are. It is up to each and every one of us to know the gameand play their part. Keep on pushing, strive to improve yourself and stay inthe game!