The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London are fast approaching. This year the Australian Paralympic Committee is preparing to deliver an Australian Team to the 2012 London Paralympic Games of approximately 165 athletes and 140 officials (total Team size of 305). This will be the largest Team Australia has ever sent to an away Paralympic Games. As of 2010, the Summer Paralympics include 20 sports and disciplines and about 420 events.
Athletes who participate in Paralympic sport are grouped into six major categories, based on their type of disability.
Amputee: Persons with a partial or total amputation of at least one limb.
Cerebral palsy: Persons who have a non-progressive neurological disorder resulting from cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or stroke, or similar disabilities affecting muscle control, balance or coordination.
Intellectual disability: Persons who have a significant impairment in intellectual functioning with associated limitations in adaptive behaviour.
Les autres: From the French for the others, this includes persons with a mobility impairment or other loss of physical function that does not fall strictly into one of the other five categories. Participants include those with dwarfism, multiple sclerosis or other disabilities.
Visually impaired: Persons who have a non-correctable vision impairment ranging from partially sighted to total blindness.
Wheelchair: Persons with a disability that requires them to compete using a wheelchair. This includes most athletes with spinal cord injuries as well as other athletes who require wheelchairs, including some lower limb amputees, persons with polio, and other disabilities.
This is a time when we all get a little or a lot, spurred on to get out there and work up a sweat. So for those with a disability what are some of the sporting options out there?
Boccia - is a precision sport, similar to bocce.. The sport is competed at national and international level, by athletes who require a wheelchair because of physical disability. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills.
Goalball -is a team sport designed for blind athletes. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents' goal. Teams alternate throwing or rolling the ball from one end of the playing area to the other, and players remain in the area of their own goal in both defence and attack. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 12 minute halves (formerly 10 minute halves). Blindfolds allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players
Wheelchair rugby (known as quad rugby in the United States) is a team sport for athletes with a disability. Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on a hardwood court. The rules include elements of wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby union. It is a contact sport and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game. It has little in common with Rugby football except for the name
Wheelchair tennis is one of the forms of tennis adapted for those who have disabilities in their lower bodies. The size of courts, balls, and rackets are same, but there are two major differences from pedestrian tennis; they use specially designed wheelchairs and the ball may bounce up to two times. The second bounce may also occur outside of the field.
There are three categories; Men, Ladies, and Quads and each category has singles and doubles tournaments. Quads is the category for those with quadriplegia and it is sometimes called Mixed especially at Paralympic Games. Quads players can hold rackets taped to the hand and use electric-powered wheelchairs.
Paralympic swimming is an adaptation of the sport of swimming for athletes with disabilities. The majority of rules for Paralympic swimming are the same as those for able-bodied competitions. Significant differences include the starting position and adaptations allowed for visually impaired swimmers. Competitors may start a race by standing on a platform and diving into the pool, as in able-bodied swimming, or by sitting on the platform and diving in, or they may start the race in the water. In events for the blind and visually impaired, people called "tappers" stand at the end of the pool and use a pole to tap the swimmers when they approach the wall, indicating when the swimmer should turn or end the race. Competitors in these events are required to wear blackened goggles, so that partially sighted swimmers compete at an even level with those who are totally blind.
For further information on what sports may suit you contact:
Wheelchair Sports NSW is based in Sydney. They provide a wide range of wheelchair sporting programs and events for athletes of all ages and skill levels, in Sydney and across various regional centres of NSW. Currently we cater for 14 different sports including; Athletics, Tennis, Basketball, Rugby. Whether you are new to wheelchair sports, an elite athlete or you are interested in becoming one of our valued sponsors, volunteers or donors, there's something here for everyone.
Sports CONNECT is a national framework that develops pathways for people with disability to get involved in sport, by creating and developing relationships between sports and disability organisations.
Categories: Feature Article