ASA hosts Special Olympics Judo Coaches Training Camp
‘Ichi’, ‘ni’, ‘san’, Japanese for ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’, could be heard loud and clear at six in the morning from judokas (practitioners of judo) in their judogis (judo uniforms). 55 Judo coaches from across India took part in the Advanced Coaches Training Camp (ACTC) held in Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) from 6 to 10 June, 2017, including nine Rural Development Trust (RDT) coaches and 10 athletes who competed in the Special Olympics. Leading the training was Archana Sharma (3rd Dan in Judo) from Goa. These coaches were trained for five days comprising of ten sessions, to allow them to go back to different judo centres across the country to further train their athletes.
Children with disabilities from different RDT centres came for these sessions and initially they were asked to observe the coaches train. Judo is one of the tough games in martial arts and safety is a major concern given the fact that it involves throwing your opponent on the ground. The children were keen on learning new skills and mastering different techniques. On the last day of the camp, they had a match with children without disabilities, where they applied their new skills.
Little is known of sport in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, but emerging research suggests that it provides the same benefits as for people without disabilities.
“There is lack of awareness about these programmes and that has to get better with the involvement of media support. Sensitisation of the needs of specially-abled kids by the general public is also the need of the hour”, says C Rajashekhar, Asia Pacific Regional Trainer for Special Olympics.
A good example of positive change was seen when Sheikh Fakrunnisha and Kappala Revathi came back with medals from Special Olympics World Games 2011, Athens back to their hometown of Anantapur. People in their communities took notice, and they were treated with respect and became an inspiration to younger children. They were also the first few Special Olympics athletes trained by RDT’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Team in Bathalapalli Development Centre, Anantapur.
“ACTC was a learning experience for me to practice and learn together with other coaches from India”, says Mehul Waghela, karate coach from Maharashtra. Surely similar training camps for coaches are pivotal for breaking barriers through sports, especially judo in this case, which is changing lives of many children with disabilities, and the ACTC was one step towards that.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]