“I wanted them to feel the excitement, the pride, the responsibility and everything else that we as athletes feel for being an essential part of the Paralympic Movement."
Argentina’s Daniela Luchina hopes her personal story can inspire a generation of Latin American Para athletes after she led two Proud Paralympian workshops in Peru. The workshops, which are supported by the Agitos Foundation, aim to empower athletes to be the best they can be on and off the field of play.
“I wanted them to feel the excitement, the pride, the responsibility and everything else that we as athletes feel for being an essential part of the Paralympic Movement,” the former wheelchair rugby player and swimmer said.
The event, which formed part of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) training camp, brought together around 50 new Para athletes, as well as coaches and administrators from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, from 31 July – 1 August in Lima. It introduced them to Para badminton in an effort to develop the sport in the region ahead of its debut at Tokyo 2020. But it also helped participants see another side to being a Para athlete, a message Luchina was keen to highlight through her own experience outside the world of competitive sport.
“I wanted them to be proud of themselves for wanting to grow not only as athletes, but also as individuals, and for them to know that they can change the life of other people with a disability just by sharing their experiences.”
Luchina retired in 2013 and found a way to use her skills and passion for the Paralympic Movement in life after sports.
She now works with Argentina’s national swimming committee and is responsible for their national Paralympic academy. In February, Luchina began work at the Buenos Aires Secretary of Sports, participating in many events related to Para sports. She is also a member of the IPC Sports Science Committee.
The camp was organised as part of the Agitos Foundation’s Grant Support Programme, which supports development projects around the world. During the Proud Paralympian workshops, participants learned about the history of the Paralympic Movement and were advised on how to develop a dual career strategy by representatives from the Adecco Group.
BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer said having the workshops alongside the training camp provided well-rounded information for the participants.
“The inclusion of the Proud Paralympian Programme at this event provided valuable information, education and inspiration to all athletes, as they begin their journey into elite International sport,” Hoyer said. “The BWF looks forward to further engagement in the Proud Paralympian programme, as we continue to support and prepare our athletes to compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.”
For more information on the Grant Support Programme and Proud Paralympian visit the Agitos Foundation’s website.