Int'l Platform on Sport & Dev – weekly digest

You can join The Platform’s Facebook group at The weekly digest is but one of the great ways to stay in touch with sport and development. You can read more and sign up to get the Platform’s monthly newsletter as well at

Three articles – all by Shane Crowhen – that may be of interest from The Platform are:

1.  Lance Armstrong Inspires People to Give –

2.  Cricket Star Knocks the Ball Around with Youngsters in London –

3.  French Football Legend Visits OrphanAid Africa project in Ayeniah –

Excerpted below is Shane Crowhen’s look at the area of Disabled Sport and the activity in that area around the world over the past month.

Disabled Sport

16 September 2009, Shane Crowhen

Over the past month there have been a number of stories highlighted on the Platform regarding sport and disability.


The stories have ranged from visually impaired athletes competing against peers from across Europe to physically disabled athletes who received their disability as a result of the atrocities of war.

A key theme that appears to shine through is not only the benefits that sport offers to the individuals involved in the sport but also to the wider disabled community.

It raises people’s awareness of issues faced by those who are disabled and ultimately it works towards removing barriers for disabled individuals in whatever activities they choose to become involved.

UN involvement
At a recent event celebrating IPC’s 20th year Mr. Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace spoke of sport as having far reaching abilities:
“…sport functions as a tool to improve the inclusion and well-being of people with disabilities in two ways – by changing what communities think and feel about people with disabilities, and by changing what people with disabilities think and feel about themselves. “

At the grassroots
These sentiments are echoed by the coaches and athletes themselves. For example, Chimm Phan, a star player from the Cambodian National Disabled Volleyball Team says of his involvement in sport:
“I have found I can do everything an able-bodied person can do, and even better”.

Chimm Phan lost the lower portion of his leg as a result of stepping on an unexploded landmine in the Cambodian countryside. The coach of the team, Chris Minko, believes that sport not only helps with the physical healing process, but also contributes to the psychological recovery of those injured.

‘Abled’ vs. ‘disabled’
A recent event in New Zealand where disabled athletes competed side by side with able bodied athletes in winter sports was particularly significant as this was the first time the two groups had competed together. Combined events such as this, and large events such as the Paralympic Games have the potential to change public perceptions of people with a disability on a massive scale.

It is promising to see such a large number of events, across a variety of sports not only being held, but receiving media attention across the globe. Moreover, it is important to hear from the athletes themselves that these events are making a difference in their lives.

More information
Para Table Tennis Moving Forward in Paraguay
The International Paralympic Committee Celebrates
CAFE To Transform Access For Disabled Football Fans Across Europe
Disability No Barrier to Playing Rugby in Australia