Monday, June 24, 2024

European Union-led programme lays para archery foundations in Africa

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As well as the 11 coaches representing seven African nations who participated in last month’s seminar at Nairobi’s Strathmore University, 12 para athletes from the Kenyan Paralympic Committee also took part, receiving lessons as part of the workshop.

Among them was the president of the Paralympic Committee, Agnes Oluoch, who arrived to watch but then asked to join in.

There was much joy and laughter as each arrow hit the target, said Hilda.

With limited existing para archery infrastructure in Africa, nations sent candidates involved in other para sports to cross-train.

“I have participated in different para sports and also had the opportunity to coach some as well,” said Bridget Nartey, a para athlete-turned-coach who was accredited at the seminar. A polio survivor, Bridget competed in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis in her home country of Ghana.

“In some of those sports, some of the physically challenged people are sidelined due to their conditions. I realised in para archery we look for inclusion, ideas and fix the problem for the archer.”

It’s hoped that Bridget and the rest of the coaching candidates will become part of a network in Africa that shares expertise, and regionally specific challenges, with each other and their counterparts in Europe, to lay the foundations for para archery in the continent.

Photos courtesy Hilda Gibson and Bridget Nartey.

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