Para sports in the Americas continue to develop after the success of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, with 43 participants from 10 Latin American countries attending education programmes in Panama and Mexico.
Panama simultaneously hosted a World Para Powerlifting National Referee Course and a World Para Athletics Level 2 Technical Officials Programme between 4-7 December, with the support of the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), through its Grant Support Programme (GSP).
A total of 13 people from Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic took part in the former, with eight of them successfully passing it to become certified World Para Powerlifting National Referees.
“The course had a good mix of candidates including athletes, coaches and some newly introduced people to the sport,” said World Para Powerlifting Educator and Sport Technical Committee Chairperson Jon Amos.
“It was especially good to see a reasonable percentage of women attending, which strengthens the vision of World Para Powerlifting and actively promotes the intent to involve more women in our sport, at all levels and in varying capacities.
“There were some excellent results achieved by some of the candidates, which can only benefit and support the continued growth of the sport throughout the Americas as it continues to increase the number of events taking place across the region.”
In total 21 participants from the same five countries attended the World Para Athletics Level 2 Technical Officials Programme, which helped to develop technical officials at the grassroots level. Twelve of them passed and will be recommended to their NPCs to be used as National Technical Officials for future competitions.
“This group is by far the most active that I have ever had,” said World Para Athletics Educator Richard Robert. “All of the participants have voluntarily contributed from the first day on and the organisers have been very accommodating.”
At the same time, a World Para Athletics Level 3 Technical Officials Programme was held in Mexico City, with the classroom sessions taking place between 3-5 December and the practical sessions during the 2016 Mexican Para athletics Junior Open, from 6-8 December.
This programme, which was funded by the German Foreign Office, had nine participants from Cuba, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and Peru, all of whom were already experienced technical officials who had been involved in national events.
Five of them passed the programme and received the certificate of competency.
“Educational programmes like the one in Mexico are fundamental for the development of the Paralympic Movement,” said World Para Athletics Educator Frederico Nantes.
“It was the first time the course was held in two languages, English and Spanish, at the same time and the progression of the candidates is impressive after participating in both theoretical and practical sessions.”
World Para Athletics Educator David Weicker added: “We were privileged to facilitate the learning of a group of aspiring Technical Officials. Both Fred and I are very pleased with the progress of them in this course.”
More information about the Para athletics education programmes is available online.
Further information about the Para powerlifting education programmes can be found online.