Adaptive athletes go for gold

2017-12-19 06:00
Winners of the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club awards.

Winners of the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club awards.

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The Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club (CSRC) in Plumstead held their annual sports awards evening on Friday 8 December at the Bergvliet Sports Association Club in Bergvliet.

The awards evening recognised the achievements of athletes using adaptive sports equipment in cycling, road running and wheelchair dancing.

The CSRC creates opportunities for people with disabilities (especially children and young adults) to compete in inclusive sport through the recognition of adaptations needed to secure participation. This accommodation could be wheelchairs, buggies or able-bodied partners.

Zelda Mycroft, CSRC chief executive officer, says this inclusive practice of various sporting codes creates greater awareness of what ability means to different people.

“The CSRC advocates for inclusion in sport through claiming the right for people with disabilities to participate/compete in mainstream events and races,” she says.

The CSRC was founded in February 2010 in an effort to provide opportunities for inclusive sport to act as a catalyst in providing opportunities for differently-abled children and adults to experience the therapeutic and healing magic that comes with being a member of a team and the joy of exercise. The CSRC has three main sporting codes that it supports:

. Cycling – supporting hand cyclists and buggy teams (disabled cyclists in buggies assisted by support cyclists who are able-bodied) with their participation in the Cape Town Cycle Tour being a focus event. Many able-bodied cyclists also ride annually in Chaeli colours.

. Running – the CSRC has been affiliated to Western Province Athletics since 2010 with able-bodied and wheelchair athletes (those pushing their own wheelchairs and those who are assisted by able-bodied running buddies) participating in Chaeli colours.

. Ballroom and Latin American Inclusive Dancing (including wheelchair dancing) – where differently abled dancers (some wheelchair users) and able-bodied dancers team up to make magic happen on the dance floor.

“All activities focus on creating a broader (often different) perception of what ‘ability’ means and the importance of inclusion for all involved (not just differently abled athletes). That is why these activities are not exclusive to people with disabilities – teamwork between able-bodied and differently abled people generates a special form of participation that could otherwise not happen – but differently abled athletes still need to have the stamina and physical conditioning to form part of an effective inclusive team,” says Mycroft.

The Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club was founded as an outflow of the Sports Programme of the Chaeli Campaign, an NPO founded by Chaeli Mycroft, her sister Erin and their friends, the Terry sisters (Tarryn, Justine and Chelsea), in 2004 to raise funds for Chaeli’s first motorised wheelchair. Twelve years later, this organisation runs eight programmes providing services to people with disabilities, their families and communities – supporting the needs of 5000 beneficiaries every year. The CSRC is supported by the Chaeli Campaign in the work that it does in the sports arena.

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