All African Games Have Potential to Create Significant Change

21 Oct 2010 By IPC

Next September’s All African Games could create significant societal change towards people with a disability according to Leonel da Rocha Pinto, President of the African Paralympic Committee.

Speaking after the second joint planning meeting of stakeholders for the tenth All African Games in Mozambique, da Rocha Pinto called on National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) to embrace the Games as they had the potential to showcase Paralympic Sport in Africa and help change perceptions.

Leonel da Rocha Pinto, President of the African Paralympic Committee, said: “The All African Games next September are potentially life changing for the athletes taking part and also society in general.

“For the athletes it is the opportunity to compete in a major international event which will bring them significant benefits in terms of awareness, stature, experience and preparation for London 2012.

“But from a society point of view, these Games will act as platform to showcase the best of Paralympic Sport. This, in turn, should act as a trigger to change people’s perceptions of people with a disability in the host country Mozambique and the rest of Africa bringing to life the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Over the coming weeks and months we will be working closely with our NPCs to ensure athletes competing in the Games next September are in the best possible shape to do justice to Paralympic Sport.”

More than 5,000 athletes from over 50 countries are expected to take part in the Games which will take place in Maputo, Mozambique from 3-18 September 2011.

It will be the fourth time that athletes with a disability have been integrated into the All African Games programme and hundreds are expected to compete in swimming and athletics.

Also in attendance at last Saturday’s meeting was the International Paralympic Committee’s Chief Operating Officer Georg Schlachtenberger who visited the proposed facilities for the Games and met Mozambique’s Minister of Sports and Youth Pedrito Caetano.

Georg Schlachtenberger said: “The tenth All African Games will be an important event to showcase to the public the performance of athletes with a disability.

“A lot of work needs to be done between now and next September and the IPC is committed to sharing its expertise with those involved to ensure Mozambique hosts the best Games possible.

“One of the benefits of the Games in Mozambique will be the bringing to life of the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities which the Government is expected to ratify later this year.”

The first All African Games took place in 1965 when athletes from 30 countries competed in Brazzaville, Congo. However, it wasn’t until the seventh Games hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1999 that athletes with a disability were invited to take part in the main programme.

The last games were held in Algeria in July 2007.