Para-sport set for major grassroots boost in the Americas


April 16, 2014 (ISN) – With just under 16 months to go until the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, almost 75 people from 13 countries in Continental America are set to gather in Sao Paulo, Brazil later this week (17-21 April) for five days of workshops that aim to support the development of para-sport on the continent.

As part of “The Road TO2015: Agitos Foundation Sessions” a number of delegates, many of whom are new to para-sport and have been especially selected from more than a hundred applications, will take part in coaching courses for athletics, swimming and goalball.

The remaining attendees will participate in classification workshops for swimming, athletics and visually impaired sports.

Organised in partnership with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organising Committee (TO2015), IPC Athletics, IPC Swimming, IBSA and the Brazilian National Paralympic Committee, the workshops – a mixture of theoretical and practical sessions – will be offered in Spanish together with simultaneous translation and will take place prior to the II Caixa Loterias Athletics and Swimming Open at the Olympic Training and Research Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Georg Schlachtenberger, Director of the Agitos Foundation, said: “These workshops are designed to improve the grassroots of para-sport in the Americas ahead of next year’s Parapan American Games in Toronto, which in turn will have a beneficial effect in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Good coaching and classification is essential to the success and growth of para-sport in this continent and we were delighted that so many people applied to take part in the workshops.

“The next two years are hugely important for the growth of the Paralympic Movement in the Americas and we are extremely grateful to all of our partners, especially TO2015, for their tremendous support.”

Saäd Rafi, TO2015 CEO, said: “TO2015 is proud to support the development of para-sport in the Americas alongside the Agitos Foundation. The number of coaches and classifiers trained in swimming, athletics and goalball in Sao Paulo in the first-ever workshop of its kind will lead to greater participation of athletes with a disability within the region.

“This is extremely motivating as we continue to gear up for the biggest ever Parapan Am Games coming to Toronto in 2015.”

Later this year, similar workshops will take place targeting countries from the Caribbean and Central America.

Approximately 1,600 athletes from 28 National Paralympic Committees will compete in 15 sports at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games from 7-15 August 2015. All sport competitions at the Games are qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. For more information, visit


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