Online portal for disability sports up and running

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu cheering Mr Muhd Saifudeen on as he took part in para table tennis at the event yesterday.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu cheering Mr Muhd Saifudeen on as he took part in para table tennis at the event yesterday.PHOTO: MARCUS TAN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Ms Goi Ming Ying has loved sports from the days she ran and played badminton for her school.

But the IT consultant's sporting days ended 10 years ago after a botched knee operation.

She developed complex regional pain syndrome and, ever since, has needed to use a wheelchair.

"I was quite depressed for a period of time," said Ms Goi, 40.

Without sports, she said, her life felt like it was missing something. Although she knew sports for people with disabilities existed, she did not know where to find them here.

But now she can, thanks to www.projectthisability.com, an online portal that shows all disability sports available in Singapore, their training schedules and locations.

Ms Goi said: "It makes life easier for people like me to know where exactly these sports are."

The website is part of Project This Ability, a final-year project by four Nanyang Technological University (NTU) communications students, supported by ActiveSG and the National Youth Council.

To mark the finale of the project yesterday, a sports day was held, with about 230 people with disabilities, friends, family members and carers trying out seven sports.

Ms Goi tried all the sports, such as wheelchair rugby and para tennis, and liked para badminton best.

One of the project organisers, Mr Jeremy Hau, 25, said he hoped it would help make sports more accessible to those with disabilities, many of whom do not take part in sports.

According to the Government's Disability Sports Master Plan, two-thirds of people with disabilities in Singapore do not take part in sports regularly. And of those whom the report defined as inactive (not participating in sports for at least four weeks), 87 per cent did not know of sporting opportunities available to them.

ActiveSG disability sports director Kerk Kim Por said that through the research by the NTU students, ActiveSG learnt that people with disabilities are drawn to sports primarily for friendship.

"Many may feel that they may be alone if they come out," he said. "So we are looking at ways to get their friends to come, or encourage them to make friends in our programmes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Online portal for disability sports up and running'. Print Edition | Subscribe