International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

MoU signed between Vanuatu Paralympic Committee and Vanuatu Athletics Federation


Following the recent success of the Melanesian Athletics Championships hosted by the newly reconstituted Vanuatu Athletics Federation (VAF), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee (VPC) to explore, support and promote an integrated approach to coaching training, equipment procurement and competitions.

“We saw what a fantastic event the Commonwealth Games was with an integrated programme of parathletics interspersed into the mainstream able-bodied events. So when we were planning the Oceania funded Melanesian Athletics Championships here in Vila in May earlier this year, we thought we’d do the same,” remarked newly appointed President of the Vanuatu Athletics Federation, Rex Issachar. “Not only the crowd loved it, but all the athletes too.”

“I was at the Commonwealth Games myself as an official,” remarked Mary-Estelle Kapalau. “It wasn’t just athletics – it was swimming, table tennis – everything – that was integrated. The audiences loved it. Our athletes too were so full of admiration for the courage, determination and skills demonstrated. In the men’s 100 metres ambulant open to people living with Cerebral Palsey, birth issues or amputation of an arm, parathletes were turning in low 10 second results! Female para-javelin throwers were doing 40 metres plus. Long jumpers with disabilities were doing distances I myself have never achieved as an able bodied athlete. It was incredible! So Rex and I decided we’d pursue the concept with our own parathletes here in Vanuatu.”

Margaret Macfarlane, President of the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee agreed, “We were delighted to be involved in Vanuatu’s first home run integrated event – although of course the Pacific Mini Games last year saw our parathletes also involved in an integrated event. We won four medals in the Mini Games and nine in the Melanesian Games and of our course Friana Kwevira’s Bronze Medal for javelin showed our young parathletes can competitively on the world stage – they just need the chance.”

With the MOU signed, the two organisations are now in discussion on providing joint opportunities for coaching workshops, integrated training and hopefully the Provincial Games due to be held in Tanna will take an integrated approach.

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