WPA Athlete Advisory Group COVID-19 statement

The priority at this time remains for all Para athletes to stay safe, be aware of and follow guidance from the WHO 30 Apr 2020
A group of female wheelchair racers on a track
ⒸLuc Percival for World Para Athletics
By World Para Athletics AAG

Dear Para athletes,

In these unprecedented times, the World Para Athletics (WPA) Athlete Advisory Group thought it appropriate to make a statement to reach out to and reassure Para athletes around the world. The priority at this time remains, of course, for all Para athletes to stay safe, be aware of and follow guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and adhere to any lockdown restrictions in place where you live.

We realise this is a difficult and uncertain time for many of you, with the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics until 2021 and many other competitions being cancelled or postponed. We are in regular contact with World Para Athletics and the IPC, ensuring that the interests of Para athletes are represented in the discussions taking place. 

At this stage, the pandemic is still causing a global crisis and it is too early to say when restrictions may get lifted or not. Also, developments will differ from country to country. There are lots of questions surrounding competitions, classification and qualification to name a few, but rest assured that WPA and IPC are working very hard to make contingency plans. However, it is almost impossible to accurately plan too far ahead in the current situation. 

We ask Para athletes to remain patient and resilient during this time, maintaining good physical and mental health through daily exercise and good nutrition. Also, try to stay in regular contact with family and friends. 

We know that the Paralympics is the biggest showcase of endeavour and achievement in the world. As a big family that supports and respects one another, we Para athletes should look at this as yet another challenge. We should lead the way, through self-discipline and courage – values we are used to promoting through our actions. 

Most athletes are currently having to adapt and find ways to cope with lockdown restrictions. We take great heart from seeing in various forms of media how Para athletes are remaining positive and leading the way in displaying the creative ways they can safely train and stay physically active at home. We encourage all Para athletes to be role models and advocates during this time.

The Athlete Advisory Group is here to support all Para athletes. If you have any concerns or queries please get in touch through our email paraathleticsaag@gmail.com. We are also trying to find ways to reach out to more Para athletes and now have a Twitter account @GroupWPA as well as a private Facebook Group ‘World Para Athletics Athlete Advisory Group.’ If you are on Twitter please follow us, and please join the group on Facebook. 

There has never been a greater desire from IPC and WPA to empower athletes to shape the sport and the movement. This is a great opportunity, but we need Para athletes to support us to have a unified and powerful voice.  We hope you will use this time wisely and stay positive.

Yours in sport.

Members of the WPA Athlete Advisory Group
Stephen Miller
Gyu Dae Kim
Jason Smyth
Carlee Beatie
Marc Schuh
Jason Dunkerley