Argentinian para-sport experiences positive progress

The Paralympic Movement in Argentina has been fundamentally changed with the support of the Agitos Foundation and National Paralympic Committee. 06 Jun 2015
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Representatives of the Argentina National Paralympic Committe took part in the OCP and GSP.

More than 40 people took part in training workshops supported by the Agitos Foundation in Argentina, which has allowed the National Paralympic Committee to reach more groups and people involved with para-sport all over the country.

ⒸIPC
By IPC and Julie McElroy

“By going to other cities, we show everyone that the NPC wants to bring information to all, and get more and more new athletes. Not only because we want to be successful in major competitions, but also because we are convinced that sport changes people’s lives."

The Paralympic Movement in Argentina is enjoying a period of growth and development never before seen in its history, improving the organisation and reach of para-sports in the country through the National Paralympic Committee and Agitos Foundation.

After attending the Road TO2015: Agitos Foundation Sessions in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April 2014, swimmer and Argentina NPC representative Daniela Luchina came across a programme run by the Foundation which aimed to train National Paralympic Committee (NPC) staff on governance, management, leadership and sport promotion.

As well as picking-up advice on classification and coaching through the Road to TO2015, which was organised in partnership with the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, Luchina heard about the Agitos Foundation’s Organisational Capacity Programme (OCP). She decided to contact the Argentinian NPC and work with them on an application.

So far, more than 40 people from the NPC and sports organisations have been involved in two OCP workshops on strategy, planning, funding and athlete development with the third and fourth scheduled for 2015.

“It was an amazing experience gathering together people that have been working for a long time in Paralympic sports with new people” Luchina said. “It’s a great chance for us to have the possibility to do this type of work that has never been done before.

“OCP is a space where you reach people that are truly interested in all sorts of things related to sports. After the OCP workshop, there are lots of participants that are asking to do small conferences to generate awareness of different aspects of Paralympic sports. We are becoming little by little the specialist in Paralympic sports and the centre of requests and questions regarding this matter.”

Luchina also spearheaded Argentina’s involvement in the Agitos Foundation’s Grant Support Programme (GSP), which aims to enable NPCs and other organisations involved with para-sports to deliver development projects. In 2014, the NPC went out to five regions to raise awareness of the Movement as a direct result of funding received from the Foundation. The quality of their application was directly linked to their involvement with the OCP, with the core areas of the bid relating to raising awareness of the Paralympic Movement and bringing key groups together.

“Argentina is a big country that has a large population with some kind of impairment,” Luchina reflected. “By going to other cities, we show everyone that the NPC wants to bring information to all, and get more and more new athletes. Not only because we want to be successful in major competitions, but also because we are convinced that sport changes people’s lives.

“By going to a city, we get to know who is working locally and we can be the link between coaches, physical educators or therapists that are involved or want to be involved with possible para-athletes. This also helps people locally to be able to teach new professionals and get more confidence on approaching a person with impairment.”

As South America prepares to host its first Paralympic Games, the Agitos Foundation continues to focus its work on the Americas and has recently begun a partnership with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The first Road to Rio 2016: Agitos Foundation Sessions took place in April 2015 and the OCP and GSP programmes are also continuing.

Luchina believes that the effects of these projects will be felt for years to come in Argentina.

“With the OCP and GSP we are reaching so many new people that we believe it will help us gain more athletes not only to Rio 2016, but to the next Games,” she said.

“And also we are starting a strong work on getting the NPC as a greater structure working with professionals, media, etc.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to have the Games in this part of the world!”

The Agitos Foundation is the only organisation dedicated to the global development of para-sport. Working from grassroots through to Paralympic Games, it harnesses the power of sport as a force for change.

More information about the development and education initiatives the Agitos Foundation is involved with is available at their website.