The PCI held a 16-day webinar on Para-sport ©PCI

The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) held its first Para-sport webinar over 16 days, focusing on both the basics and the technical-scientific aspects of different disciplines.

The initiative was hosted by the PCI in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

PCI President Deepa Malik moderated a session and Para-athletes, coaches, physiotherapists and officials all participated in the programme.

It started with an introduction and the basics of Para-sport, looking at disciplines such as swimming, athletics, shooting, powerlifting, badminton and archery.

Other topics up for discussion were sports psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy and yoga, as well as lessons from athletes.

Malik spoke of his delight at hosting the event with the SAI.

"We are very happy to start an educational online programme like this, thanks to SAI who collaborated with us and because of that, many National Institute of Sports certified coaches joined us," he said.

"There has been no educational programme so far about Para-sport in the country. 

"All our athletes are self-educated and all these sessions were very informative, covering various aspects of Para-sport – technicalities, rulings, specifications, classifications.

"The sessions were not just a learning opportunity but it was a multi-targeted programme. 

"We have so many able-body coaches who are keen to coach the Para-athletes and now they know how to proceed, the recorded sessions are ready-reference dictionaries for everyone.

"Secondly, it was about reaching out to the Paralympians and hearing them out. 

"Thirdly, it was the success stories of the Para-athletes, how they rose above the difficulties. 

"It was about giving hope, inspiration, foresight, ambition to the youngsters who joined us from across Asia."

Ex-athletes Pullela Gopichand and Gagan Narang joined the badminton and shooting sessions respectively.

There were more than 300 attendees in each session, with an emphasis on athlete welfare from the PCI once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

"It's very encouraging to see more than 300 attendees in each of the sessions," SAI senior executive director S.S. Roy said.

"This was a path-breaking initiative and the sports education programme will go a long way with this endeavour. 

"In future, we believe we will have a more structured and device mechanism to take this to a larger population."

Ekta Bhyan, the 2018 Asian Para Games gold medallist in the club throw, said that she was very satisfied to have attended the sessions.

"These 16 days of webinar were full of knowledge and information for Para-athletes of many disciplines," she said.

"I personally learned a lot about other sports too. 

"Every aspect of a Para-sports person's life is covered with exercise regime, psychological mentoring and nutrition. 

"Many senior coaches and players shared their personal experiences that is surely going to help every budding athlete."