The recent Paralympics and the athletes’ achievements highlighted the plight of people living with disabilities. What does living with disability mean and does it make a difference to the training regime of these athletes.

Can you as an able- bodied person imagine what this entails? Yes you, before you skip this, take the time to do exactly that. A sense is taken away from you, say hearing or sight. Would the world be a softer place, compromising sounds, movements and color?

Regardless of when it was taken, these individuals cope against the odds. If this should happen at birth, adapting might be easier, as this is what you know. If it was taken at a later stage, the adjusting to a different way would also include a different mindset.

There are organisations that help these children (should it happen at this age) to adapt to this new lifestyle. When these children show an aptitude for any athletic ability, the transition is handled with care for the future athletes. More funding to do just that is needed constant research to ensure constant evolving development.

Fast forward to training and the hours spend on the practice field. Countless hours, days spend doing a movement and repeat. Then again doing a movement, repeat until the time spends doing it has decreased.

“While sport has value in everyone’s life, it is even more important in the influence sport can have not only on the physical body, but also in rehabilitating people with a disability into society. Furthermore sport teaches independence. Nowadays people with a disability participate in high performance as well as in competitive and recreational sport.” *

The joy that these athletes, represent their respective countries, with is palpable. The pride evident and if you detect  self-importance, rightly so. They don’t only conquer the daily grind; they are able to compete in an intense physical arena, many with much more gusto and determination then their able counterparts. They deserve their accolades, we can learn from them.

More over not only do they deserve the recognition, we can learn from them. Therefore in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr we salute you:  “If you can’t be a the sun, be a star. For it isn’t by the size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are. And when you do this you’ve mastered the length of life.”

*Text  from Disabled World – towards tomorrow.

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