What is Sports?
Sports is a recreation, a pastime and a physical exercise that is normally performed outdoors and should be practised by everyone, at every age, without the distinction of condition or ability. The practice of sport improves both social and physical skills that specially benefits people with some type of disability, as it improves coordination, posture, spatial orientation, strength, stamina, flexibility and muscle tone, as well as improvement in learning skills and self-esteem.
What is Inclusive Sports?
Inclusive Sports is the practice of a sport between people with or without disability under the same rules. It is a right to enjoy sport under equal opportunities.
The Convention for the Rights of People with Disability, currently active in Spain in its article 30, states that the participating States should encourage and promote the participation in sport of those with disabilities at all levels.
Of the different ways of doing exercise, this one is highly recommended. Not only for the physical and mental well-being that it promotes, but also because it improves quality of life and social inclusion through a common practice: sport.
That is why Down España in collaboration with Fundacion Sanitas has created the video “Deporte para todos, ejercicio de igualdad” (Sports for all, an exercise in equality) in which explains the advantages of this type of exercise and the importance of sport, through the experiences of professional sportsmen and women, healthcare personnel and the associated movements:
This educational Institution has its head office at the Facultad de Actividad Fisica y Ciencias del Deporte- INEF de la Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (The Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Science of the Polytechnic University of Madrid). It is a joint initiative of the Facultad de Actividad Fisica y Ciencias del Deporte- INEF de la Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and Fundación Sanitas. The objective is to encourage and promote the participation of people with disabilities in sport.
Inclusive Sports in School (ISS)
What is “Inclusive Sports in School” ?
Inclusive Sports in School is an educational program that has as its general objectives:
Encourage the practice of Inclusive Sport in Schools.
Promote the Paralympic Sports through inclusive methodologies.
Raise awareness of the situation of people with disabilities and the practice of sport.
Inclusive Sport in School is series of didactic activities and resources specially aimed at school children and their teachers. Carried out during Physical Education classes, these sessions promote the active participation of people with disabilities in sporting activities in an educational, motivating and fun environment.
Inclusive Sport in School, as a program, is also a practical tool for the training, and retraining of Physical Education Teachers in the issues of disability, awareness of Paralympics Sports and how important it is to encourage the active participation of children with disabilities in class.
Rugby, a true exponent of Inclusiveness
Nelson Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world”. “It is more powerful than governments in breaking down barriers”. Magic Johnson also said: “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates”.
That is exactly what rugby demonstrates. Rugby is a perfect example of an Inclusive Sport. The difference between rugby and other sports is that in rugby, everyone counts; every player is necessary. No matter what characteristics each player may have, everyone is useful to the team. Furthermore, rugby also promotes the values that we seek to encourage such as solidarity, respect, effort and team work.
As a matter of fact, more and more rugby clubs are incorporating people with disabilities into their ranks. In this way, rugby is becoming a magnificent platform not only for promoting sport amongst people with disabilities but also for inclusiveness.
As such, we would like that people with Down syndrome and their families as well as the rugby clubs to put away their fears and concerns about the practice of rugby including people with and without a disability.
Currently in Spain more and more initiatives are emerging to encourage Inclusive Rugby. Thanks to these projects Spain is one of its leading exponents.
One example of this is the creation of “Union por el rugby inclusive” (Union for Inclusive rugby) sponsored by DOWN ESPAÑA in collaboration with Foundación Sanitas. It is a project that encourages the practice of rugby and brings together the experiences of teams from all over Spain who have young players with Down’s syndrome in their teams. Also participating in this project is the Asociación de Ingenieros Industriales de las Rozas Rugby (Madrid), San Isidro Rugby Club (Madrid), VRAC Quesos Entrepinares (Valladolid) and Escor Gaztedi Rugby Taldea (Vitoria).