Sports for Disabled People in India Introduction Today, the

Sports for Disabled People in India IntroductionToday, the ideaof people with a disability being able to participate in sport and physicalactivity is not so uncommon. In many developed countries, opportunities existfrom the grassroots to elite levels for people with a disability to showcasetheir abilities in sport and physical activity. But this is not the case in allparts of the world. Whilst there has been progressive and positive change inquality of life for people with disabilities and their interest inparticipation in sport which is not only in many developed countries but indeveloping countries like India also. Studying it therefore, will help us tobetter understand and appreciate the contribution of various earlier as well aslatest policies and organizations for the promotion of disable sports in India. What is Disability?Anyone mayexperience disability at some point in his/her lifetime.

Disability is a normalpart of the human experience, and people with disabilities are part of all sectorsof 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, thereport from the WHO and World Bank confirms that disability is a major issue ona global scale. The causes of disability are evolving, mainly due to longerlife expectancy, a higher prevalence of chronic illnesses, and also an increasein armed violence and natural disasters.According tothe Census 2001, there is 28% in Movement, 49% Seeing6% Hearing, 7%, Speech and10% Mental Disability in India who constitute 2.13% of the total population.75% of persons with disabilities live in rural areas, 49% of disabledpopulation is literate and only 34 % are employed.   Definitions of Disability: ·       The World Health Organisation statesthat “disability is a restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in themanner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”·       United Nations Assembly defineddisabled person as “any person unable to ensure by himself, wholly or partially, the necessities of anormal individual and/or social life, as a result of deficiency, eithercongenital or not, in his or her physical or mental capabilities”.

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 Disability Sport:While sport hasvalue in everyone’s life, it is even more important in the life of a personwith a disability. This is because of the rehabilitative influence sport canhave not only on the physical body but also on rehabilitating people with adisability into society. Furthermore, sport teaches independence. Nowadays,people with a disability participate in high performance as well as incompetitive and recreational sport.The number ofpeople with disabilities involved in sport and physical recreation is steadilyincreasing around the world with organized sports for athletes withdisabilities divided into three main disability groups, sports for the deaf,sports for persons with physical disabilities, and sports for persons withintellectual disabilities.

From the late1980s, organizations began to include athletes with disabilities in sportingevents such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. However, many sportsare 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 mentallyor physical disabled. Major disabilitysporting events include: DisabledVeterans – The U.

S. Department ofVeterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sports programs are dedicated to motivating,encouraging and sustaining participation and competition for disabled. Studiesshow that adaptive sports provide numerous benefits including: Less stressMore independenceHigher 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 theworld’s fastest growing sports events. SpecialOlympics – The global SpecialOlympics movement got its start on 20 July 1968, when the First InternationalSpecial Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Butthe concept of Special Olympics was born much earlier, when Eunice KennedyShriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at herhome in 1962. DisabilityCommonwealth Games – For the firsttime in the Games history a number of Para-Sports were included in a fullyinclusive Sports Program in Manchester 2002 when 20 countries sent both maleand female elite athletes with a disability to compete in 10 events across 5different Para-Sports; Athletics, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Table Tennis andWeightlifting.

“The Commonwealth has always said it wants to play alead role in social issues,” says Steadward, who is president of theInternational paralympic Committee. “What better way than by becomingthe first major sports competition to integrate athletes withdisabilities” ParalympicGames – A multi-sport event forathletes with physical, mental and sensorial disabilities. This includesmobility disabilities, amputees, visual disabilities and those with cerebralpalsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, following the OlympicGames, and are governed by the International Paralympic Committee.

 The Role of Sport for People with Disabilities:Sport can playa key role in the lives and communities of people with disabilities, the sameas it can for people without a disability. There is a wealth of evidence tosupport participation in sport and physical activity for people with adisability concerning trends, barriers and benefits of participation. Over thepast three decades, numerous studies have revealed that sport participationresult in improved functional status and quality of life among people withselected disabilities.  Scientificresearch has been conducted across disability groups that make knownparticipation in sport leads to improved levels of physical health andwell-being.

It has also been shown to improve physical fitness and general moodin psychiatric patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. Additionally, ithas been linked to improvements in self-confidence, social awareness andself-esteem and can contribute to empowerment of people with disabilities. Sport can havea positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities but many facechallenges 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 disabilitiesto participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure andsporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures. It isfurther mentioned that to encourage and promote the participation, and tocreate opportunity, to organize and develop participate in disability-specificsporting and recreational activities, It is needed to have appropriateinstruction, training and resources with equal access to tourism venues andsporting activities as compared to other children for participation in play,recreation and leisure.” In article 30 ofInternational Disability Alliance Guidance Document May, 2010regardingParticipation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport clearly statesabout Access to culture,recreation, leisure and sport are also important