While Team Singapore swimmer Yip Pin Xiu was breaking the world record and bringing Singapore a Paralympic gold, ActiveSG was continuing to do its part on the ground trying to raise awareness and promote para sports.
A participant trying out five-a-side football during the SPD Fun Walk at Punggol Waterway. Photo: Sport Singapore
During the SPD Ability Fun Walk on Punggol Waterway on Saturday, ActiveSG set up archery, wheelchair basketball and five-a-side football booths to give the public a chance to try out these sports.
As part of the Disability Sports Master Plan, ActiveSG has been rolling out para sport try-outs at different events across Singapore.
These try-outs aim to promote para sports among persons with disabilities, not just so Singapore can find the next Yip Pin Xiu, but also because sports can significantly enhance the lives of people in many ways.
“The current rate of person with disabilities who do sports regularly isn’t very high, so the master plan aims to raise it,” said Kerk Kim Por, Director of Para (Disability) Sports at ActiveSG.
Members of the public at the para sports try-outs. Photo: Sport Singapore
“We want them to try, and through the example of our athletes also, to sign up to do more sports so that it can uplift and enrich their lives.”
“It’s not just about the physical benefits. It is also about getting into a wider social circle, getting to know more people, getting out of your comfort zone to do more.”
But organising these try-outs do more than just promote sports among persons with disability. They also give the public a chance to put themselves in the shoes of a handicapped person for a short while.
“For a person without any disability, they experience just for a few short minutes how is it like to be a person with disability and do certain activities,” Kerk said.
“And that will lead to more understanding of what the person with disability has to go through every single day and every single second.”
“We found that improves empathy, and also importantly, we want to educate people that persons with disabilities are just like you and I. We want to remove that fear of approaching people with disabilities.”