Para sports camp kickstarts to foster inclusivity

To foster inclusivity and create opportunities in sports for people with disabilities, the Bhutan Paralympic Committee has begun its Para Sports Camp in the capital. The sports camp is also aimed at fostering the development of para sports in the country. According to the Bhutan Paralympic Committee, the camp is the first of its kind. The two-week long training started last Monday.

Before being introduced to the various sports, the participants started their training with basic exercises.

According to the Committee, the initiative will identify and nurture talented individuals with disabilities who have the potential to represent Bhutan on the international stage. The selected participants will undergo specialised training and have the chance to be a part of the national para-sports team.

According to the Bhutan Paralympic Committee, the camp will provide participants with an opportunity to explore their athletic potential in an inclusive and engaging environment.

“I learned about the para-sports camp through social media. Currently, I am training in archery and I am very interested in the sport. I expect to be part of the para-athlete in Archery and hope to participate in the Olympics if I get the opportunity,” said Tika Ram Ghalley, a participant.

“I participated after hearing that the Bhutan Paralympic Committee is introducing various sports this winter. With the training, I found my interest in shooting and Archery, so I am going to choose between the two sports,” said Tshering Penjor, another participant.

The participants are being taught a total of five sports by their respective coaches and federations under the Bhutan Olympic Committee. The lessons for Athletics and Shooting have been completed, and the participants are currently taught archery and have to explore badminton and table tennis.

According to the committee, social stigma, along with issues related to accessibility and logistics, contributed to the lower participation in the camp. A total of 10 persons with disabilities and five para-athletes are taking part in the camp. According to the committee, they invited the para-athletes to inspire and encourage the participants.

“So, in the beginning, there were about just 10 participants who registered for the camp, so we postponed it and were waiting for more numbers to come in. But unfortunately, it did not happen and we had to begin the camp during the third week of January. But I am happy to say that more people are coming in as the days go by. This is the second week of the camp and we are seeing an increase in participants as they come from other districts as well,” said Phuntsho Choden, Assistant Development Officer, Bhutan Paralympic Committee.

The Bhutan Paralympic Committee was established in 2017 to promote the Paralympic Movement in the country.

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