The Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) in association with Virtus on Monday launched a two-day National Eligibility Officers Seminar for West Asia region that aims to build capability, increase awareness and grow participation of athletes with intellectual disabilities in elite competitions.
As many as 20 participants, who are qualified sports administrators, coaches and psychologists, from eight nations including Maldives (South Asia) are taking part in the seminar which will be presented by Ms. Robyn Smith, Virtus Vice President and Professor Jan Burns, Virtus Head of Eligibility.
The seminar will train and educate the officers who can go back to their respective nations to assess the eligibility of athletes with an intellectual disability to compete in competitions including Paralympic Games and Virtus Games.
The first day of the seminar will be more theoretical with the agenda including eligibility workshops for psychologists and administrators, while the second day will be practical with UAE athletes to be tested besides presentations on Virtus Oceania – Asia Games 2022, Virtus Global Games 2023; bidding for future Virtus events – World Championships, Regional Games and Global Games among others.
Welcoming the NPC delegates in Dubai, APC President Majid Rashed said: “It’s an honour for the entire APC family to host this Seminar which will increase awareness and participation of our athletes in major competitions, including Paralympic Games and Virtus Games.
“We are very happy to collaborate with Virtus whose Mission aligns with our Vision of ‘making an Inclusive Asia through Para sport’. This is the first of such seminars, starting with West Asia region and we are glad to see the interest among these nations. This seminar is important for our sub-regions and in future, we plan to have more regional seminars in the Central, South-East Asia, South Asia and East Asia regions. I hope a successful seminar to all the visiting delegates.”
Meanwhile, Ms Smith said that after meeting with Mr Rashed, during a visit to Dubai in March 2022, it was clear they both shared the same vision of ensuring no one is left behind.
“Sport is a powerful channel, that speaks the same language to people of all abilities, to people with determination, to be the best they can be through sport,” Ms Smith said.
“This first workshop is a partnership between our organisations and is only made possible with the generous support and contribution from the Dubai Sport Council and the Asia Paralympic Committee, so I sincerely thank everyone involved in delivering this workshop.”
Virtus is the international sport federation for athletes with an intellectual impairment and provides pathways to inclusion for eligible athletes to compete in the Intellectual Impairment (II) class at Virtus events and the Paralympic Games.
Among others present during the launch of the seminar were: Thani Juma Berregad, Chairman of Dubai Club for People of Determination and Tarek Souei, APC CEO.