Friday, 29 November 2013

Sunday Sports ‘Show-down’

This Sunday, our ICS team had the honour of attending the ‘Third Annual Inter-District Competition’ for blind and visually impaired sports. The competition was held within our very own city of Tamale, and it saw four teams compete, each representing different districts within Ghana’s Northern Region; Tamale Metro, Sagnerigu, Tolon and West Mamprusi There were two different sporting events in the day’s program; Goal Ball and Show-down.

The event was a healthy mix of tense sporting activity and light-hearted social interaction, with players and their families using it as a great opportunity to meet up and celebrate the benefits of Para-sport. The morning progressed with a real positive energy. Those in the audience included members from the wheelchair basketball team - demonstrating the unity of the Para-sports teams in the region- a presenter from Fiile Radio station (a local station covering the day’s events to promote awareness of Para-sports within Tamale), and a representative from the Regional Sports Council.

Goal ball sees two teams - three players on each - battle it out for the most points scored by rolling the ball into the goal. The specially designed balls have a bell mechanism which enables the squad to hear the ball coming towards the goal. This gives the competitors a short period of time to get into position and make a save. The matches were intense, fast-paced and demonstrated just how capable the Para-sports teams in the Northern Region are. 

Show-down on the other hand, is a sport based loosely around table tennis (although it reminded us more of air hockey). As you can see in the picture here, the ball goes under the divide in the centre of the table, with each player hoping to reach the goal on their opponents’ side using their wooden baton. This time, the matches are one-on-one, again with a rapid pace, displaying the players’ agility and technique.

As we watched on intently, Sunny, the Sanagru team coach was refereeing the matches. He has a passion for Para-sports, and has volunteered with the blind team since their establishment in 2008. A teacher by profession, Sunny is an inspiring individual; he regularly invests his time and energy into the blind sports community and wishes to work closely with us at International Service to promote a more inclusive society here in Ghana.

The competition was not just an opportunity for teams to participate and hone their skills in the two sports; it also served as an effective and necessary way to raise awareness of Para-sports and its importance. Disability sports are beneficial on a variety of levels; not only do they provide a sense of accomplishment and community for those directly involved, but they also promote a positive and pro-active attitude concerning persons with disabilities within the wider community. Para-sports can show just how talented persons with disabilities can be, especially when they are provided with the means to reach their full potential. James, the Chairmen of the West Mamprusi district board for Blind sports, told me how these competitions provide the “only chance to play Show-down”. As there is only one table available for the entire region, practicing the sport outside of events such as this one becomes impossible for many districts. Yet with more funding and equipment, the Para-sports community in Tamale and the Northern region overall, will continue to flourish.

Inter-district competitions such as the one held on Sunday are vital in order to raise the awareness of the Para-sports community in the Northern Region. Through further work with each team we hope to work towards getting more investment put into the maintenance and expansion of these teams. The International Service team look forward to working together with the sports teams to push for greater inclusive policies and opportunities for persons with disabilities here in the Northern Region.

By Matilda

No comments:

Post a Comment