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ISPORT Project launched to support blind and visually impaired children

The ISPORT Project is a collaboration between the Malta Paralympic Committee (MPC) and The Malta Trust Foundation (TMTF) aimed at developing Para Sport for blind and visually impaired children and young people in Malta, known internationally as Blind Sport or VI (‘visually impaired’) Para Sport.

The project was launched during a press conference in which representatives of MPC and TMTF detailed the ambitions and objectives of this innovative project.

The launch was followed by an Open Day held at the National School of Sport, during which blind and visually impaired athletes were invited to try out various Blind and VI Para Sports under one roof, with Blind Futsal, indoor rowing, athletics, judo and swimming all on offer. For many of these individuals, this was the very first time they ever participated in sport and physical activity, demonstrating the very gap in our society that the ISPORT Project seeks to address.

Going forward, the Open Day participants and other blind and visually impaired individuals will be guided by the MPC to enrol with sports clubs to commence training sessions.

Where required, introductory and 1-to-1 training sessions will be offered, to support a smooth transition into the sports clubs’ environment in which blind and visually impaired athletes will be enabled to train alongside able-bodied and sighted athletes.

During the Open Day, blind and visually impaired athletes, together with their relatives, were also given the opportunity to interact with and learn from established Para Athletes and Para Sport ambassadors present, including some of Malta’s very own Paralympians and competitive Para Athletes.

The Open Day was also attended by various key sport and disability stakeholders, including the Malta Society of the Blind, the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, Advice and The Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), among others.

The Chairperson of The Malta Trust Foundation, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said: “This was the natural step ahead for The Malta Trust Foundation, in the context of the work that we do with children and young people with disability.

“Therefore, when we were approached by the Malta Paralympic Committee to collaborate, we immediately saw the benefits that could result from this project. We want ISPORT to be another opportunity for children and young people with disability to continue developing their full potential. They deserve it.

On the part of the Malta Paralympic Committee, Secretary General Julian Bajada highlighted that the ISPORT Project marks a new phase for Para Sport development in Malta.

“The project embodies MPC’s ethos of inclusion meets excellence. Ringing true to the MPC’s mission statement of enabling individuals to fulfil their full potential through Para Sport, this project will also inspire and shape our communities by pushing boundaries by daring to do what many may think is impossible.

“The MPC believes that every individual deserves the best possible opportunity to experience and reap the life-long benefits of sport, asserting that this project is a step in this direction, for individuals from all walks of life, age, and ambitions.”

In a statement, the MPC and TMTF encouraged blind and visually impaired individuals, and their relatives, to take their first step in sport and come forward to participate in the ISPORT Project.

This project will be covering the registration fees, coaching and other related expenses in order not to add additional expenses to the families of the children and young people participating. For further information, interested individuals may contact MPC via [email protected] or TMTF via [email protected].

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