Uganda has hosted its first ever Proud Paralympian event under the stewardship of governing body Uganda Paralympic Committee and Agitos Foundation.
For starters, Proud Paralympian is meant for Paralympians and Para athletes who aspire to compete at the Paralympic Games while partners Agitos are a global organisation developing sport activities for people with an impairment as a tool for changing lives.
The main purpose of the 3 day event that started on 31st October, ending on 2nd November at Hotel Africana, is simply inspire and educate athletes with disabilities to be their best, both on and off pitch.
Among the most crucial topics that were designed to support aspiring athletes included Athlete Health and well being, the Paralympic Movement, Human Rights, Working with the media, Ethics and dual career strategy.
According to one of the trainers and facilitators Natalie du Toit – a South African Para Swimmer, the workshop held “put Uganda on the map, allowing athletes sharing knowledge all over the content.
“I specifically come from South Africa, and we all have challenges. When we are in a room together, we could speak about the challenges and we realize that it doesn’t matter which country we come from.
Some of our challenges are pretty much the same, so it also all about giving that helping hand, creating opportunities, creating positives. We are all learning in the process.
Zawedde Aidah Naava – Uganda’s Para Athlete representative also member of Uganda Paralympics Committee credited the event for “empowering athletes to develop Para sport in Uganda.”
She also called for “formation of a Para Athletes council, to have representatives of all regions disseminate information across the country.”
Sierra Leone’s representative Brimma Nelson Oumawa praised the workshop for teaching him “new things he had never learnt before but also proving a platform to learn from athletes originating from other countries.”
President Uganda Paralympic Committee Mpindi Bumali similarly lauded the workshop for taking Uganda “a notch higher on the international scene.”
He added; “One of the major factors that attracted the event to Uganda was the fact that the nation has two representatives at the Africa Paralympic Committee.
It’s been resourceful in many ways especially in capacity building as well as having a couple of athletes touring Uganda to examine our sporting conditions as well challenges they can jointly work on.
Athlete Representatives from 10 African countries – the likes of South Africa, hosts Uganda, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Togo, Canada, Germany and Netherlands took part.