Sports for Disabled People in India Introduction Today, the

Sports for Disabled People in India



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Today, the idea
of people with a disability being able to participate in sport and physical
activity is not so uncommon. In many developed countries, opportunities exist
from the grassroots to elite levels for people with a disability to showcase
their abilities in sport and physical activity. But this is not the case in all
parts of the world. Whilst there has been progressive and positive change in
quality of life for people with disabilities and their interest in
participation in sport which is not only in many developed countries but in
developing countries like India also. Studying it therefore, will help us to
better understand and appreciate the contribution of various earlier as well as
latest policies and organizations for the promotion of disable sports in India.


What is Disability?

Anyone may
experience disability at some point in his/her lifetime. Disability is a normal
part of the human experience, and people with disabilities are part of all sectors
of the community: men, women, and children; indigenous and non-indigenous;
employers and employees; students and teachers; consumers and citizens.


Population of Disability:

Estimating the number of people with disabilities worldwide at 1 billion,
or 15 percent of the world’s population, the
report from the WHO and World Bank confirms that disability is a major issue on
a global scale. The causes of disability are evolving, mainly due to longer
life expectancy, a higher prevalence of chronic illnesses, and also an increase
in armed violence and natural disasters.

According to
the Census 2001, there is 28% in Movement, 49% Seeing6% Hearing, 7%, Speech and
10% Mental Disability in India who constitute 2.13% of the total population.
75% of persons with disabilities live in rural areas, 49% of disabled
population is literate and only 34 % are employed.




Definitions of Disability:

·       The World Health Organisation states
that “disability is a restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the
manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

·       United Nations Assembly defined
disabled person as “any person unable to ensure by himself, wholly or partially, the necessities of a
normal individual and/or social life, as a result of deficiency, either
congenital or not, in his or her physical or mental capabilities”.


Disability Sport:

While sport has
value in everyone’s life, it is even more important in the life of a person
with a disability. This is because of the rehabilitative influence sport can
have not only on the physical body but also on rehabilitating people with a
disability into society. Furthermore, sport teaches independence. Nowadays,
people with a disability participate in high performance as well as in
competitive and recreational sport.

The number of
people with disabilities involved in sport and physical recreation is steadily
increasing around the world with organized sports for athletes with
disabilities divided into three main disability groups, sports for the deaf,
sports for persons with physical disabilities, and sports for persons with
intellectual disabilities.

From the late
1980s, organizations began to include athletes with disabilities in sporting
events such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. However, many sports
are practiced by persons with a disability outside the formal sports movements,
for example: Wheelchair basketball, Wheelchair dancing, Weightlifting,
Swimming, and many other sporting activities you can join if you are mentally
or physical disabled.

Major disability
sporting events include:

Veterans – The U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sports programs are dedicated to motivating,
encouraging and sustaining participation and competition for disabled. Studies
show that adaptive sports provide numerous benefits including:

achievement in education and employmentReduced
dependency on pain and depression medicationFewer
secondary medical conditions (i.e., diabetes, hypertension)

Deaflympics – The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the
world’s fastest growing sports events.

Olympics – The global Special
Olympics movement got its start on 20 July 1968, when the First International
Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA. But
the concept of Special Olympics was born much earlier, when Eunice Kennedy
Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at her
home in 1962.

Commonwealth Games – For the first
time in the Games history a number of Para-Sports were included in a fully
inclusive Sports Program in Manchester 2002 when 20 countries sent both male
and female elite athletes with a disability to compete in 10 events across 5
different Para-Sports; Athletics, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Table Tennis and
Weightlifting. “The Commonwealth has always said it wants to play a
lead role in social issues,” says Steadward, who is president of the
International paralympic Committee. “What better way than by becoming
the first major sports competition to integrate athletes with

Games – A multi-sport event for
athletes with physical, mental and sensorial disabilities. This includes
mobility disabilities, amputees, visual disabilities and those with cerebral
palsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, following the Olympic
Games, and are governed by the International Paralympic Committee.


The Role of Sport for People with Disabilities:

Sport can play
a key role in the lives and communities of people with disabilities, the same
as it can for people without a disability. There is a wealth of evidence to
support participation in sport and physical activity for people with a
disability concerning trends, barriers and benefits of participation. Over the
past three decades, numerous studies have revealed that sport participation
result in improved functional status and quality of life among people with
selected disabilities.


research has been conducted across disability groups that make known
participation in sport leads to improved levels of physical health and
well-being. It has also been shown to improve physical fitness and general mood
in psychiatric patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. Additionally, it
has been linked to improvements in self-confidence, social awareness and
self-esteem and can contribute to empowerment of people with disabilities.


Sport can have
a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities but many face
challenges to getting involved in sport. There is also explained in Article 30,
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities about participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
“With a view to enabling persons with disabilities
to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and
sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures. It is
further mentioned that to encourage and promote the participation, and to
create opportunity, to organize and develop participate in disability-specific
sporting and recreational activities, It is needed to have appropriate
instruction, training and resources with equal access to tourism venues and
sporting activities as compared to other children for participation in play,
recreation and leisure.”


In article 30 of
International Disability Alliance Guidance Document May, 2010regarding
Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport clearly states
about Access to culture,
recreation, leisure and sport are also important