Creating a solid foundation for the development of sports for people with disabilities

Wednesday, 2019-06-05 15:17:17
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Le Van Cong, a 'hope' for gold medals of Vietnamese sports at ASEAN Para Games 2019.
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NDO – The Vietnam Paralympic Association (VPA) has successfully held its fifth national congress for the 2019-2023 tenure, offering an opportunity for authorities to review successful achievements as well as challenges and difficulties in the development of sports for people with disabilities.

In recent years, the VPA has made important contributions to the development of the physical training and sports movementamong people with disabilities, helping them overcome difficulties in their daily life to integrate into the community. So far, over 40 provinces and cities have developed physical training and sport competition movements for people with disabilities. Many tournaments have been organised from central to grassroots levels, attracting numerous units and clubs with over 1,200 athletes and coaches each year. The quality high caliber sports for disabled people has been improved to a place where athletes have the chance to compete professionally.

On the basis of such development, Vietnam has gradually affirmed its position in regional, continental and world arenas of sports for people with disabilities. The country has always beenin the top three or four in Southeast Asia and top ten in Asia. A gold, silver and bronze medal in the 2016 Paralympics were the prominent achievements of Vietnam over the past five years. The most recent achievement was the 12th placed position in the medal rankings among 45 delegations at the 2018 Asian Para Games. With only 56 athletes competing in 7/18 events, the Vietnamese athleteles brought home eight gold, eight silver and 24 bronze medals, including two golds in weightlifting.

The success of Vietnamese sports for people with disabilities is partly attributed to efforts of the VPA and investment from the sports sector at all levels. The Association now has 35 member units nationwide. It has set many major and specific tasks to further promote the physical training and sports for the handicapped during 2019 – 2023 period. The VPA will improve the youth championships according to the standards corresponding to international tournaments as well as bring many other sports at a national level such as judo, football, taekwondo, basketball and archery. The association also strives to hold a championship annually, featuring the participation of 40 provinces and cities with around 1,400 athletes and possibly even more.

The VPA will also coordinate with the General Department of Physical Training and Sports to bring athletes to compete for points in international tournaments, focusing on track and field, swimming, weightlifting, chess, badminton and table tennis. The agencies will also work together to develop a project to organise ASEAN Para Games 2021 in Vietnam. In the immediate future, the association are preparing for the upcoming ASEAN Para Games 2019 in the Philippines.

The implementation of above tasks requires the coordination among the VPA, the General Department of Physical Training and Sports, association, federations, ministries, agencies, localities and domestic and international organisations. In addition to policies to develop sports for people with disabilities, it is crucial to promote mechanisms to mobilise in-depth and long-term funding, particularly direct investment in nutrition and living expenses for disabled athletes right from their localities.

Relevant agencies should also pay much attention to the training of coaches, referees and tour guides, especially in terms of foreign language skills. Therefore, according to the VPA’sleaders, the association will focus on developing the network of sports clubs for people with disabilities at grassroots level and schools to create favourable condition for them to join sport activities in the community. A solid foundation will promote the sustainable development of sports for people with disabilities, towards first-rate achievements.