"Twenty-six years ago when we invented RaceRunning I had absolutely no imagination what was laying in front of us. I am not even sure that I would have chosen this path. It has been a struggle, an Odyssey, but this Para sport Prize really tells us that we have reached a milestone.”
Danish RaceRunning pioneers Mansoor Siddiqi and Connie Hansen were recognised for their efforts in inventing and promoting the sport nationally and abroad. Both received the “The Minister for Culture’s Para sport Prize 2017” during the Danish Sports Year 2017 ceremony in Herning in early January.
“It was a fantastic evening in Herning and we have received so many positive reactions and congratulations since then,” Hansen said.
World Para Athletics announced in October that RaceRunning events for athletes with severe co-ordination impairments would be included beginning 2018. A selective RaceRunning programme will be included at the Berlin 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships in August.
Three-time Paralympian Hansen won nine titles in athletics, and Siddiqi competed over four Games in boccia and athletics, winning three medals.
“RaceRunning has become our lifework. Twenty-six years ago when we invented RaceRunning I had absolutely no imagination what was laying in front of us. I am not even sure that I would have chosen this path. It has been a struggle, an Odyssey, but this Para sport Prize really tells us that we have reached a milestone,” Hansen said.
Siddiqi added: “It has been a very important year for RaceRunning. Many new countries are adapting the sport, and in countries like Sweden and [the Netherlands] the sport of RaceRunning is growing at a rapid speed. The future looks bright and in 2018 this development is only going to continue. I hope that RaceRunning will be a part of the Paralympic programme in 2028 – if not earlier.”
DKK 100,000 donated to RaceRunning
Hansen and Siddiqi were nominated for the Minister for Culture’s Para sport Prize by the Danish Disability Sport Information Centre and Organisation for the Spastics. The two other nominees were the Para taekwondo world champion Lisa Gjessing and Joachim Thor Kroyer from Danish Deaf Sports Federation.
The prestigious prize comes with DKK 100,000 Danish (EUR 13,400), which Siddiqi and Hansen are going to put toward RaceRunning for children and youngsters.
“We are very determined that the prize money should benefit our young athletes. We need even more children and youngster to become Para sport athletes and choose and active lifestyle,” Siddiqi said.
In July the RaceRunning Camp & Cup will once again take place in Copenhagen and in August the world’s best RaceRunning athletes will be participating in the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin, Germany.