“A role of Paralympian is so much bigger than just competing in a sport. There is a lot to be done to people to be aware of how big a responsibility of Paralympian should be and could be."
The Proud Paralympian athlete education programme has now seven new leaders who will inspire and educate athletes on and off the field of play.
From 5-7 August, during the CPISRA World Games in Sant Cugat, Spain, Para athletes from four countries went through a three-day Proud Paralympian leader training - the first hosted by an international federation. The aim is to prepare them to become certified leaders able to facilitate workshops.
New Proud Paralympian leaders are Australia’s Gavin Bellis (rowing), Great Britain’s Alistair Patrick-Heselton (football 7-a-side), Rachel Choong (badminton), Samantha Carrington (taekwondo) and Stephen Miller (athletics), France’s Richard Perot (badminton) and Guatemala’s Raul Anguiano (badminton).
Delivered and funded by the Agitos Foundation, Proud Paralympian aims to give Para athletes the tools they need to give their best on and off the field of play, from their first experiences in Para sport to their transition to employment and education after sport.
After the training, approximately 100 athletes and their coaches attended workshops lead by newly-trained leaders, in which they could learn more about the Paralympic values, dual career, human rights and athlete health and wellbeing.
The leader training was hosted in cooperation with the Adecco Group, who has been a partner of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) since 2007.
Patrick Glennon, the Adecco Group Global Senior Vice President (SVP) for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IPC Athlete Career Programmes, said:
“It is always rewarding to train new Proud Paralympian leaders. In our session in Sant Cugat, I was proud of how all seven athletes worked together to learn, and develop personal strategies on how to communicate the message to younger athletes as a unified team.”
Alistair Patrick-Heselton, a football 7-a-side Paralympian who retired after London 2012, said:
“I am proud to be a Paralympian because I was able to show my ability and give my best as an athlete even though I have a disability.
“A role of Paralympian is so much bigger than just competing in a sport. There is a lot to be done to people to be aware of how big a responsibility of Paralympian should be and could be. I’m passionate and engaged to this message”
Australian rower Gavin Bellis, three-time World Champion who competed in London 2012 and Rio 2016, is excited to be able to give back to the Paralympic Movement as a Proud Paralympian leader.
“I can give back to the community through this programme and teach Paralympians and Para athletes to help their successful career.
“I learned a lot in terms of facilitation through the three-day leader training. A reason is we are all from different nationalities. We need appropriate questioning techniques to engage people from different background.”