Changing the perception of disability and opening up access to sport for the disabled

The Nivernais Hugues Thépenier (international basketball referee) and Pierre Gaillouste (referee in Ligue 1 football) spoke at a conference, this Sunday, June 26, about arbitration, and Mamignan Touré (international basketball) and Karine Zeimer (member of the French 24 Hours team) about women’s sports.

As for disabled sports, the conference, organized by Hakim El Fassih, opened the debate.

Nathalie Laurent, president of the sports committee for the disabled in Nièvre, and Dominique Girard, coordinator of physical activities adapted to the Adapei (departmental association of parents and friends of people with intellectual disabilities) of Nièvre, were able to explain their experience.

However, even as the sport becomes almost accessible to all forms of disabilities, many challenges remain.

“This is possible with suitable equipment. The big problem comes from the cost of this equipment. The committee has made a fleet of equipment available to the clubs,” said Nathalie Laurent. Who also highlighted interventions to help clubs set up such activities.

Why not carpool with athletes from Cosne

Another concern for practitioners, training schedules. What Vincent, a Charitois who was able to practice different sports before his illness, underlined: “I would like to play basketball. It would be possible in Nevers, but no more trains in the evening. It would be oxygen for me and allow me to lead a social life”. We can imagine carpooling with those who come from Cosne to Nevers for their sports exercises, replied Nathalie Laurent, inviting him to keep in touch.

Possible practices for people with mental or psychological pathologies

But the practice of disabled sports is not limited to physical disabilities, as the second speaker, Dominique Girard, pointed out. These practices are possible for people suffering from mental or psychological pathologies. “These are very diverse and support must be provided with adapted pedagogy. You need to know how to take the time for the practitioners to understand and then perform the gesture. For some it takes a few weeks, for others a few months,” explains the coordinator within Adapei.

There are other problems, as well as arbitration that also has to adapt, but another essential one: that the view on disability is changing, and not just in sport, Nathalie Laurent and Dominique Girard concluded. The first to remind us that we can do a lot together. The second emphasizes that we should not dramatize or trivialize.

An annual party??

To conclude these three days around the Charitois sport, three people were honored for their involvement. Henri Valès, the mayor, thus presented the city’s medal to Janine Labonne (who was, among other things, president of the USC for five years), to Fabrice Faucard, who has invested heavily in table tennis, and to Dominique Baron, who collected in particular Hundred Years of Charitable Sports Archives.

Finally, we will bring the latter’s wish to the attention of the mayor: “Would it be nice to organize an all-sports party every year?! †