Making Sports Accessible
Paralympic sports is making waves worldwide. And several persons with disability from India are starting to make a mark. Mariappan Thangavelu is an example – he won gold at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro in the high jump. This amputee hails from near Salem and is the son of a vegetable seller.
Chennai Marathon 2019 will be a beginning to nurture Paralympic sports in India. Chennai Runners Association will partner with The Ganga Trust to enhance opportunities in sports for persons with disability through a project christened Sport4Life.
Sport4Life will have a three-pronged approach:
1) Mission 2024 will identify and enable 10 persons with disability who have the potential to make it to the International level. World-class fitness, nutrition and equipment, access to best-in-class training at the global level and participation in international events will be the core of Mission 2024.
Ankur Dhama, India’s first blind runner to get to the Paralympics, Mariappan Thangavelu, Shailesh Kumar, India’s fastest wheelchair marathon runner and Ramesh, a member of the India Under-23 Wheelchair Basketball team will be the first four in Mission 2024.
2) Grassroots Sports Program: Across Tamil Nadu, sporting events would be held at four locations to give persons with disability a chance to experience sports and serve as a platform to identify talent.
3) Centre for Sports Excellence: At present, unlike several other countries, in India, there is no dedicated facility where sports persons with disability get access to world-class training facilities. At the existing centres, they are often given step-motherly treatment. Lakeshore Foundation and Ability360 are models of excellence in the United States. In this long-term project, Chennai Runners and The Ganga Trust will create a centre of sports excellence in Tamil Nadu.
Contribute generously to help develop sports for the disabled and enable Tamil Nadu become a role model for the rest of India.