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How the Paralympic Games are opening pathways from play to podium


How the Paralympic Games are opening pathways from play to podium

Athlete pathways to the podium begin with high quality grassroots sport, which is why the Trinidad and Tobago Paralympic Committe (TTPC) continues to work with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), through support from UK Sport, in the delivery of world-class sport in many countries.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the support of UK Sport has, in part, led to the formation of the TTPC, through the London 2012 legacy programme, International Inspiration, designed and implemented by UK Sport, in partnership with UNICEF and the British Council. The new governing body, which places disability sport at the forefront of its agenda, works closely with UK Sport’s international partner, the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Education (TTASPE), to deliver creative educational programmes to bring young learners into physical recreation and activities.

Promoting partnerships through grassroots activities 
This grassroots approach has attracted in-country partnerships with national sporting organisations and government agencies to promote the TTPC mandate, “Changing lives, changing minds through sport, recreation and rehabilitation.”

Meanwhile, the pathway development frameworks to get Trinidad and Tobago’s brightest talent recognised, underwent an overhaul after an evaluation led by UK Sport. The International community Coaching Education System (ICES) has now helped to provide greater support and defined a framework for community athletes with disabilities to grow through local coaching systems.

Paralympic athletes to inspire youth
Today their Paralympic stars at London 2012 are the first athletes to compete in a Paralympic Games in 24 years. Swimmer Shanntol Ince and shot put and discus thrower Carols Greene have made Trinidad and Tobago proud both by achieving their personal bests earlier this week. Their performances at the Paralympic Games will continue to inspire generations of youth to succeed, despite their disabilities, another core value the TTPC promotes through their work.

Sixteen-year-old Paralympian Shanntol Ince competed in her first Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010 and was voted Trinidad and Tobago’s Sportsperson of the Year after her performance. She said the experience “really inspired me to do more and push myself to the limit, despite my disability.”

She believes that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the opportunities for disabled learners and wants to send out this message to other young people with disabilities: “Despite your disabilities, don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. Success and gratification comes from hard work and dedication.”

The country’s only professional blind power lifter, who frequently competes in events with able-bodied athletes is 43 year old Carlos Greene. At a sports festival organised by one of TTPC’s partners, Carlos had the opportunity to try his hand at shot put, and as a result of his remarkable distances, he was offered the support of a professional coach. After making the qualifying distance for the London 2012 Games, he achieved an overall 11th position in both events.

Carlos’s coach, Lester Osauna, believes the TTPC will be able to discover more athletes in the run up to Rio 2016. “The new drive towards improving status and standards has been possible with support from sponsors including UK Sport, these recreational programmes, we will help us find more athletes.”

Visit the UK Sport website 


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Mel Paramasivan


Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 23:00