ASEAN Para Games (APG) medallists such as Nurulasyiqah Taha and Kalai Vanen have embarked on the journey towards becoming para sport coaches with the goal of further developing para sports in Singapore.
Team Singapore boccia player Nurulasyiqah Taha (first from right) during the IPC Introduction to Para Sports Coaching Programme at the Singapore Sports Hub. Photo: Sport Singapore
The third and fourth run of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Introduction to Para Sports Coaching Programme concluded on 26 February 2017 and saw current para athletes and coaches completing the introductory course.
All athletes have a finite lifespan, and some of the these athletes are already planning ahead for their future in para sports.
“I have been playing boccia competitively for more than ten years, and as an athlete, I need to think about the lifespan of the athlete,” she said.
What is important to the Paralympian, however, was to give back to the sport that has benefitted her in many ways.
“By taking the first step, by going for this coaching programme, hopefully it gives me more insight into the coaching aspect of the sport,” she said.
“Because for boccia, our challenge is that all this while we don't have a professional coach or full time coach to guide our players.”
“I hope that with my participation I can help to contribute and work on a better structure or programme that can help groom more coaches.”
Kalai Vanen (first from right) feels that he is in a special position to better understand and coach other para athletes. Photo: Sport Singapore
For Kalai Vanen, who claimed Singapore’s first medal in powerlifting in the last APG, he felt that as a para athlete, he was in special position to better understand and coach other para athletes.
Only someone who has been through the trials of disability, can one fully understand and empathise with the difficulties that a para athlete faces on a daily basis.
“I learnt para sports from able-bodied coaches who know what the sport requires but may not fully understand my position as a para athlete,” the 58-year-old said.
“So I have to learn some things along the way as my body tells me. Therefore, I think I can understand better when I see another para athlete.”
“I can see things that my able-bodied coaches would not be able to spot. I share a certain affinity with these people."