By Isaac Salima:
Malawi Paralympics Committee (MPC) President, James Chiutsi, has said lack of resources remains the biggest challenge affecting growth of paralympics sports in the country.
Chiutsi made the remarks on Saturday when Malawi joined nine other southern African countries in launching this year’s Paralympic Week which runs from September 21 to 28.
He said there was need for more resources to help the country’s paralympians compete in big international events.
“What we are looking for is support from stakeholders. A lot is needed for people with disabilities to play games of their choice. We need specialised equipment to help them compete. For instance, wheelchair basketball requires at least 14 wheelchairs for a team to participate in a game. One wheelchair costs about $3,000 which is very expensive for our paralympians. So because there are no resources, we just use ordinary mobile wheelchairs,” Chiutsi said.
He said they had lined up activities during the week to raise awareness about their challenges.
“We will be reviewing what we have done in recent years to develop paralympics and also strategising on the way forward. We have to raise awareness on the need for people with disabilities to take part in sports disciplines of their choice. We will also take advantage of the week to plan our preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” Chiutsi said.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting Region Sports Development Officer for the South, Felix Yora, reiterated the government’s commitment towards developing paralympics in the country.
“We always make sure that MPC is successful in the implementation of its plans. We have been assisting MPC in its programmes and that affirms our commitment to developing the sport,” Yora said.
Launch activities started with a ‘Walk for Life’ march from Kamuzu Stadium to Blantyre Youth Centre where the athletes competed in different sport codes.