First Toronto 2015 workshop brings together 28 countries

Nearly all National Paralympic Committees from the Americas region attend first of three sessions aimed at building a stronger Paralympic Movement ahead of Parapans and Rio 2016. 20 Dec 2013
Toronto 2015 Colombia workshop

Representatives from 28 National Paralympic Committees attended the first of three workshops aimed at developing para-sport in the Americas region.


“We, the Agitos Foundation, will keep supporting these cooperative efforts with our members and it is great to count partners like Toronto 2015 and the other organisations amongst this process."

The first workshop of The Road TO2015: Agitos Foundation Sessions have taken place in Bogota, Colombia, as part of the development activities of the 2015 Parapan American Games which will take place in Toronto, Canada.


The workshop on sport management for National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) organised by the Agitos Foundation and Toronto 2015, gathered 29 representatives from 25 NPCs out of the 28 existing NPCs in the Americas region.


The workshop was divided into three main topics delivered one per day. Day one focused on organisational capacity and the Paralympic Movement, day two on athlete and sport development and day three on strategic partnerships.


Facilitators came from Canadian, Brazilian, American and Colombian NPCs and Commonwealth Games Canada.


These included experts such as Dr. David Legg, ex-President of the Canadian and current sport management Professor at Royal Mount University in Calgary, Dr Colin Higgs, a worldwide recognised expert in athletes' pathway and talent development, and Juan Pablo Salazar, Colombian NPC President and president of Fundacion Arcangeles, an award winning non-governmental organisation that uses sport as an advocate towards the rights of people with impairments in Colombia.


Through group activities and worksheets, at end of each day the participants had the chance to work on key areas and action items specific for their NPCs with guidance of the expert facilitators. The workshop also provided a great networking opportunity, building communication channels between the different country members.


Reports suggest that the level of cooperation among all the representatives was outstanding where the larger NPCs (e.g. USA, Canada, Brazil) offered advice to the smaller NPCs (e.g. Chile, Haiti or Trinidad and Tobago) on how to improve their preparations for the next Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.


Kristina Molloy, Director, Parapan Planning and Integration of Toronto 2015 said:


"The level of interest, participation and expertise at the NPC sport management workshop exceeded expectations, and resulted in excellent knowledge transfer between the NPCs from the Americas region.


“TO2015 is committed to supporting the growth of the Paralympic Movement within the Americas region.


"This workshop was an important step towards ensuring the region’s best para-athletes have fantastic performances at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games.”


Isra Villalpando, Agitos Foundation Development Manager said:


"I am thrilled with the response rate we received for this initiative, which resulted in the participation of almost all the NPCs in the Americas. But most important for me was to see the openness that exists in the region to work together towards the same goal: build a stronger Paralympic Movement on the road to Toronto 2015 and Rio 2016.


“The Toronto Parapan American Games will offer a unique opportunity to showcase the power of the athletes of the region on the road to Rio 2016, and the countries have recognised that working together can achieve much more than walking alone.


“I am convinced that the Americas region is on the right track and that our NPCs are working hard.


“We, the Agitos Foundation, will keep supporting these cooperative efforts with our members and it is great to count partners like Toronto 2015 and the other organisations amongst this process."


An American participant said: "The relationship building was the key for this workshop. We were able to connect with our colleague in NPCs in a more practical way".


"This workshop will have a great impact in our NPCs since we take valuable new knowledge to be applied directly in our work. This will be reflected in our athletes in Toronto and Rio", a participant from Venezuela said.


In 2014 The Road TO2015: Agitos Foundation Sessions will have two more workshops, one in April in São Paulo, Brazil, and a second in Kingston, Jamaica, in August. Each of these will offer training for national coaching in swimming, athletics and goalball, as well as training for national classifiers in swimming, athletics and visually impaired sports.