If you’re someone who lives with a disability and has a passion for sports, why not consider becoming a Paralympian? As challenging as it may be, you know nothing is impossible given hard work and the right training.

Decide on a Sport

Not all sports are a part of the Paralympics, but you’ll find a comprehensive list of those that are at the Committee’s website. Your options include tasks like Archery, Badminton, Canoeing, Swimming, and even Wheelchair Curling.

You should choose something you’re already comfortable with doing and will enjoy training for in the long run.

Confirm That You’re Eligible

Each sport in the Paralympics has participating athletes divided into different classes or numbers of classes. For instance, Ice Hockey and Powerlifting has only one class, but Para Athletics has 52!

Para athletes are classified through three different steps, which consider:

  1. Eligible impairment, which can include diminished movement or strength, missing or damaged limbs, visual impediments, and intellectual compromise.
  2. Maximum disability standards as determined by a particular sport. Examples here could include the topmost height for athletes of short stature or amputation-levels for those missing appendages.
  3. The most appropriate sports-class based on your ability-level and how your conditions limits or affects your performance.

Commit to Possibly Gruelling Training Programmes

The one and only way you are going to improve at the sport you’ve selected, especially if you’re aiming to start competing at the Paralympic level, is to start and keep training. A good way to make sure you stay on track is to reward yourself at specific milestones with a meal out at your favourite restaurant, for example, an evening enjoying Bingo games for money, or a gadget you’ve been longing for.

It’s recommended that you commit to working out at least five days a week, and you’ll need to have these sessions with either a private coach approved by the International Paralympic Committee or national Paralympic coaches.

Start Competing

Once you’ve put in a few training sessions you’ll need to get out there and start taking part in different contests. These will help you improve and test your skills and gain experience. Regional-, national-, and international-level events will all become available as you manage to qualify.

Contact the Malaysian National Paralympic Committee

When you and your coach feel you’re ready to join a national team you’ll need to touch base with Malaysia’s NPC. You need representation from them if you want to compete, and then it’s just a matter of signing up for the next games!

You can also volunteer as a non-athlete if you prefer. Coaching positions are available, along with the chance to be an event organiser, a fundraiser, a manager an official, or a trainer. The Special Olympics would not exist, as in they would not even have been created, without the commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and time of volunteers.

The Paralympics are about transforming lives, the spirit of giving, and the art of teamwork. At the end of the day, it is about making your community and neighbourhood one that is accepting and welcoming for people of a range of ability levels.