SportSG partners IPC to develop para sports

After reading about navy serviceman Jason Chee's comeback from his tragic accident to becoming a national para table tennis player, civil servant Krysania Tan was inspired and wanted to get involved in para sports.

But the part-time swim coach was hesitant about training people with disabilities, given her inexperience in dealing with para athletes.

That changed yesterday after she attended a two-day course, conducted by Sport Singapore (SportSG) to train local coaches for para sports.

The inaugural programme, comprising about 50 coaches - including several from Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia - is part of SportSG's new partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The topics covered included an introduction to the IPC sport classification, sport psychosocial aspects, anatomy, skill development and communication with para athletes.

Tan, 44, said: "The coaching process is similar to an able-bodied athlete but you also need to change your mindset and work around their physical limitations."

More courses will be rolled out early next year. They are part of the government's Disability Sports Master Plan, which aims to encourage more people with disabilities to pick up sport.

Last year, Singapore hosted the Asean Para Games for the first time and sent a record contingent of 154 para athletes who delivered a record haul of 63 medals (24 golds, 17 silvers, 22 bronzes).

The Republic followed that with two golds and a bronze at the Rio Paralympics in August, and there is growing public awareness of para sports, said Troy Engle, Singapore Sport Institute director of coach development.

He added: "We have seen a significant increase in demand among our coaches and sports professionals for information and development opportunities to support those working with people with disabilities."

Other recent government initiatives include the introduction of five para sports for the first time at this year's biennial Singapore National Games, and the establishment of five Centres of Expertise islandwide.

These sports centres will offer tailor-made programmes for people with disabilities and will be set up over the next five years.

For more information on the coaching courses, e-mail Info_ParaSports@sport.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'SportSG partners IPC to develop para sports'. Print Edition | Subscribe