Canadian Paralympic Committee calls for more disabled children to participate in sport
Friday, 07 December 2012
December 7 - Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) chief executive Henry Storgaard has issued a rallying cry for opportunities to be made across the country for more disabled people, particularly children, to get involved in sport.
Disability sport in Canada received a huge boost after the country hosted the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, where they finished third on the medal table with 19 medals, including 10 golds.
Canada produced another strong performance at the London 2012 Paralympics to finish 20th on the medal table with 31 medals, seven of them golds.
But Storgaard (pictured top) has called for increased participation levels in disability sport to help Canada both at grassroots level and elite.
"Every child in Canada has the right to participate in sport," said Storgaard at a special Paralympic event in Ottawa.
"Sport opens the door to many great life experiences and our goal is to encourage more Canadians with a disability to get involved and enjoy first-hand the many benefits that participation brings."
Currently, less than three per cent of Canadians with a disability are active in organised sports.
That is a statistic that the CPC is working to improve through the recruitment campaign, "It's More Than Sport" that looks to get more disabled people active through sport.
"For Canada to have a podium full of medallists, we need to have a playground full of kids playing Parasport," said Storgaard.
"We need to ensure that kids with a disability know that participation in sport is an option for them.
"There are many transferable benefits that playing sport can provide a person with a disability, from rehabilitative to personal development.
"I know parents will see this campaign and want to give their child the chance to benefit from the experience of Parasport."
Canada's nine-time Paralympic swimming champion Benoît Huot has also backed the CPC's call for more people to get involved with disability sport.
"I'm so grateful that when I was 13, I saw an athlete on TV with the same disability as mine which made me realise that one day I could be a Paralympic athlete too," said Huot.
"It's really important to make sure the next generation of children with a disability have the same opportunities."
The CPC are encouraging anyone in Canada looking to get involved in Paralympic sport to click here.