The 14th edition of the School Paralympics, in addition to medal disputes in 13 sports, has generated a lot of integration and even friendships among the 900 athletes, from all regions of the country, who have participated in the competitions that started this Wednesday morning (24) , and which run until Friday (26), at the Paralympic Training Center, in São Paulo.
The event, aimed at young people with disabilities of school age, from 12 to 17 years old, has historically contributed to the Paralympic development and promotion of sport. In the current edition, athletes from 25 federative units (with the exception of Minas Gerais and Alagoas) have interacted between the competitions and created a feeling of inclusion and belonging, in addition to the sporting spirit present in the competitions.
“The School Paralympics are a great opportunity for inclusion and for making friends. This is my second edition and I have already made friends from Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We are adversaries, but we cannot be enemies”, highlighted Igor Diolindo, 16, representative of the Federal District. He has a spinal cord injury and competes in the BC3 class bowl (for athletes who use chutes to perform the throw).
+ Opening ceremony starts the School Paralympics
In addition to the athletes, parents and coaches have also taken advantage of the event to exchange regional information. First lady of Roraima, Simone Denarium, highlighted that she talks with other authorities and other professionals to bring ideas to her state. She is in São Paulo to accompany her son, João Antonio, 15, who has cerebral palsy and is also a bocce player (class BC2 – who do not receive assistance from peddlers or helpers).
“We are building access roads and breaking down barriers. We have been talking to people from all over Brazil to think about projects that we can use in Roraima. This exchange of experiences provided by the School Paralympics makes all the difference. We can do a fantastic job in each of the Brazilian states”, he stated.
The event also highlights the great regional differences that exist in the country in relation to other aspects, such as accents and food. Gold medalist in the 100 m and silver in the long jump in class T38 (for athletes with motor coordination disabilities) on the first day of Escolares, Pernambuco’s Luiz Henrique dos Santos, 16, said he already misses his hometown, Petrolina , and couscous (a typical northeastern dish).
“São Paulo is a wonderful city. It’s the second time I’ve come to compete in the Schools, but when it’s time to eat, we miss the couscous [risos]. Representing Petrolina, through athletics, is gratifying and makes me very proud”, said Luiz Henrique.
Couscous is a dish that Jordan Glashorester, from Rio Grande do Sul, a basketball player in a wheelchair, doesn’t even know about. Born in Rio Pardo, about 150 km from Porto Alegre, and for the first time in the School Paralympics, Jordan had never left the southern region of the country.
“For those who live in a city of 38 thousand inhabitants, São Paulo is very busy. I didn’t know it well, because we practically didn’t go out, but I could see that it’s another reality. And it was only possible to get to know it thanks to basketball, which also provides me with physical activity, fun and autonomy”, pointed out the 16-year-old athlete.
In all, 13 sports will be disputed until Friday, 26, in the School Paralympics: athletics, wheelchair basketball (3×3 format), bocce ball, 5-a-side football (for the blind), 7-a-side football (for cerebral palsy), goalball, judo, swimming, parabadminton, parataekwondo, table tennis, wheelchair tennis and sitting volleyball.