Thursday, 14 August 2014

Let the games begin!

"The Paralympians have lifted the cloud of limitation."
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games committee

One of HSB's central pillars is the advocacy of disability rights through sport. Saturday 9 August saw the HSB athletes compete at the 2014 National Disability Sport Championships, organised by the Paralympic Federation. The event was hosted at the Stade du 4 Août, the biggest stadium in Burkina Faso and an impressive stage for all the athletes to compete.
It was an early start for the volunteers who were at the stadium by 7am to cheer on the athletes.  Track events ranged from the 100 metre wheelchair and tricycle sprints to demanding 3000 metre handibike endurance races. Although the rain poured down later in the day, all the events took place as planned, in defiance of the rainy season.
Having worked with HSB for 5 weeks now, we've got to know the team well and it was a brilliant experience to view them in their element. We saw the Welding Workshop team swap their overalls for Lycra and we all thrilled when Joseph Tiendreogo (Jo) came first in the 100m tricycle sprint.
Saaba and Arche, disability associations who work with the International Service Inclusive Sport Team, also put out some strong performances in the visually impaired and deaf running events.
Competition continued in the afternoon with a basketball match between HSB and Abushis. Having lost at their last match the pressure was on for HSB to bring home a win but after a tough game Abushis emerged victorious, winning 12-4. HSB nevertheless improved on their last performance and reduced the goal difference since the last match.
The HSB team put in a brilliant performance but it was evident that a lack of equipment remains a big obstacle, leading some athletes to competing using heavy, everyday wheelchairs rather than specialist sports models. This situation is something the team will be working to combat over the remaining weeks of our placement.
The Championships made for an inspirational day from start to finish. We hope that with the continued hard work of HSB and organisations like Arche and Saaba, next year’s will attract even more attention and local supporters. We’re looking forward to it already!

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