The Bahrain Paralympic Committee (BPC) is not leaving any stones unturned in their quest to support their athletes to unravel their full potential and achieve success at the highest level.
Over the past year, BPC has undergone several positive changes including giving a facelift to their identity by launching their redesigned logo – ‘We are Dreamers’.
The logo is based on five fundamental ideas encompassing the spirit of Excellence, Achievement, National Pride, Passion and Paralympic Vision that defines the Committee core.
“These ideas, expressed visually in this illustration, transcend different personas, abilities, and obstacles to create a framework within which our shared story can be told. A story that can be told in many ways, in every language, for different audiences, while consistently expressing a shared purpose,” explained BPC secretary general Ali Mohamed Al Majed.
“The BPC feels the way we act and communicate inspires people to do new things and to think in new ways. Our communications are powerful, simple, direct, inspire action and assist in motivating people to unleash the transformative power and joy of sports.”
Since BPC’s inception in January 2019, the Paralympic Movement in the country has got a new direction with Bahrain Sports Federation for the Disabled (BSFD), Special Olympics, Bahrain Deaf Sports Association and 13 other federations coming under its umbrella. Earlier, the BSFD was the official body responsible for Para sports in the country.
“BSFD’s focus was mainly on participating in sporting events only, and the sporting events were limited to number of sports that were under them, excluding any other federations. Now all these federations get full support from Bahrain NPC to participate in different Para sports - locally, regionally, and internationally,” added Al Majed.
Empowering Para athletes
“The Bahrain Paralympic Committee is working on inspiring social transformation towards a more inclusive Bahraini society through enabling people with disabilities to engage in sport at all levels. The BPC is spreading the Paralympic Movement by empowering Para athletes to achieve sporting success, mitigating all constraints, increasing capability, and working together with partners,” Al Majed informed.
Besides, the BPC is also working with private and government educational organisations (universities, schools and institutes) to establish support tools for physical education instructors to motivate them to engage students from different ages with disabilities in adapted or even normal physical activities.
The BPC is also holding public awareness events to motivate not only people with impairment but also the abled ones, especially the youth.
“We are also working with the Ministry of Works, Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning on transforming the main sporting venues as fully accessible. And this will not only stop here as there is a study running between both sides, that is looking into all public facilities such as shopping malls, hotels, roads and many other facilities to make them fully accessible,” he said.
Road to Tokyo 2020
Currently, the country has 389 active Para athletes from different federations and associations with seven of them having the calibre to represent the Kingdom of Bahrain at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this summer.
Al Majed said: “All these Para athletes are provided with coaches, training plans, rehabilitation programmes, transportation services etc. In addition, online workout sessions were provided to all Para athletes during the lockdown. A local championship was also organised after the lockdown in order to get the them get back into the competition mode and environment.
“There are also upcoming training camps — local and international — as part of their preparation for the qualifying championships as well as road to Tokyo 2020 plan. There are local sponsors who have already come forward to sponsor some of our Para athletes.”
Since its first participation at the 1984 Paralympic Games, Bahrain has a total of 10 medals from the Games so far including two gold. At the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the country got its first woman Paralympic champion in Fatema Nedham when she took the gold in shot put F53 event.
At the Tokyo 2020, the BPC is expecting to swell the medals tally further.
“In the recent years, our Bahraini Para athletes have achieved numerous medals. Therefore, for Tokyo 2020, we would love that all of our athletes achieve more medals for themselves and the Kingdom of Bahrain,” he added.
Leaving a Legacy
Moreover, the country’s Paralympic Movement received a major boost when it was handed the Asian Youth Para Games 2021 and the West Asian Para Games 2022.
Al Majed admitted that these Games will strengthen the Paralympic Movement in the region and more specifically, in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“The Games will create an awareness in the Bahraini society of the capability of people with impairment and their importance in contributing to the society, economy and the country. It will also help recruit and develop new potential Para athletes in Bahrain, the GCC, and Asia; provide opportunities of high-quality competition to improve the sports excellence of the Para youth; also provide opportunities of education to young Para athletes and coaches; nurture friendship and strengthen unity within Asia and further leave a legacy.”