Paralympic Festival in Thimphu promotes sports for children with disabilities

The Bhutan Paralympic Committee celebrated the fifth Paralympic festival at Changangkha Middle Secondary School in Thimphu today. This annual event aims to encourage children with disabilities to engage in sports from a young age. This year’s festival highlights the potential and rights of children with disabilities to participate in sports and inspire them to excel.

Changangkha Middle Secondary School is an inclusive school and has over 140 children with disabilities.

During the festival, ten para sports were showcased with parents, teachers, and students learning how to bend the rules of the game so that everyone could play and have fun.

The Bhutan Paralympic Committee with support from the International Paralympic Committee organised the event.

“The whole idea of bringing the Paralympic Festival into school is that we want children to take up sports from a very young age. So that later on, if they’re interested, they can become a competitive athlete. And maybe in future, they might also take part in the Paralympic Games and represent the country,” said Penjor Gyeltshen, a para-athletic coach at the Bhutan Paralympic Committee.

During the event, the Special Olympics Asia Pacific, which aims to promote respect, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports, shared plans to expand the reach of Special Olympic Bhutan across the country.

Currently, the Special Olympics Bhutan supports around 300 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“So, the Special Olympics in Bhutan have been in operation since 2009. It’s done some fantastic work so far. Most recently, they sent a delegation to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin last year. We at Special Olympics Asia Pacific are here to grow the program, expand its reach, and work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders to reach more individuals with intellectual disabilities within Bhutan,” said Shruti Mehta, the senior manager of the Organisational Development at Special Olympics Asia Pacific.

As of today, the Bhutan Paralympic Committee has four athletes actively representing Bhutan in Para Sports.

Singye Dema

Edited by Sonam Pem

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