On 4 March, we had our first para sports day here in the Enabling Village. The event was organised by Project This Ability, led by a group of students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information from the Nanyang Technological University and their team of volunteers.
It was an incredible range of activities packed within the limited space of our event hall. The aim of the event was for folks with disabilities to experience a range of sports, and for local sportsmen to explain their passion and recruit fresh blood for their teams.
Here’s a summary of what we saw and found out.
1. Mixed doubles are really mixed.
Many people don’t think badminton is a game for wheelchair users, but… you had to be here. We had several groups playing the game that day, including teams comprising players on their feet as well as in wheelchairs.
Turns out mixed disability badminton is a lot like mahjong–skill may be important, but what’s really important is having four players.
2. Grace Fu talked game and shot hoops.
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, came by. And no, we could’t let her leave before she shot some hoops.
We’re looking forward to a proper rematch with Paralympic standard rims. (*rubs hands gleefully*)
3. Boys were pitted against their fathers, daughters against their mothers.
The favourite stations among the families that came were goal shootouts for Boccia (seated players compete to get their ball closest to a target) and Goalball (think handball for the blind and the blindfolded).
4. We got close enough to touch–yes, even ride–wheelchair rugby gear!
There are two types of chairs in wheelchair rugby: offensive and defensive. Both are formidably geared up with metal fittings to protect their riders… and to make terrific sounds when smashed together on the court.
5. Para-sport celebrities. ‘Nuff said.
We rubbed shoulders with Theresa Goh, Apple Yap and Richard Kuppusamy. Theresa and Apple, in particular, were trying out games different from what they played at the Paralympics. Have you seen the videos?
The games at this event were new to almost many who came. Members of the Project This Ability team and their volunteers worked hard to explain the rules and game mechanics. You guys were the best!