On Wednesday 23rd May, a group of people interested in becoming a parasports coach and a large group of young people living with an impairment attended a coaches and parathlete Talent Identification Day at Lamanu Field in Isangel. The trip to Tanna was jointly funded by the Carbine Club of Port Vila, the Oceania Paralympic Committee and the Agitos Foundation with organizational support through the Ministry of youth and Sport’s Allan Dan and Ginette Morris of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services. For once the focus was just as much on the Talent Identification for people with coaching skills – not just a focus on how fast the parathletes could run or throw a shotput!
“The Coaches Workshop in Isangel, Tanna was funded through the generous support of the Carbine Club,” explains VPC President Margaret Macfarlane. “So much focus in the past has been on Efate activities, but we are determined to undertake Provincial Outreach and Advocacy Programs to find potential parathletes and coaches living in the provinces. It’s no use identifying athletes if we don’t have people on the ground to run regular training programs to build their technical skills and fitness.”
“It’s just so great to see so many potential coaches interested in training para-athletes living with an impairment,” commented Chris Nunn, a high performance coach who has trained athletes and coaches at a Paralympic and Olympic levels. “From those attending this Workshop, the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee (VPC) will nominate two candidates to attend a Coaches Capacity Building workshop in Tokyo, Japan and to tour the 2020 Paralympic Games complex.”
As every sports official knows working in any sporting discipline, it’s one thing to find great athletes but if you don’t have the coaches to organize regular training, look after equipment and uniforms, identify and organize training locations, competitions, funding, awards and plan events – then you simply do not have a sport that will survive. Coaches provide the foundation stone and sustainability for any type of sport. Indeed, coaches are the unsung heroes of athletic endeavor. So finding good potential coaches on Tanna was probably more important than finding possible parathletes.
Jessica Richardson who has been working in the area of inclusion in sport agrees, “Wendy Jonas of the Tafea Disability Committee was fantastic in helping us to locate four potential coaches – all of whom are teachers or sports coaches already, as well as some really good possible parathletes. We will nominate one of these coaches to go to Tokyo in July for further coach training in the lead up to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.”
Skills training, assisting your community and a possible trip to Tokyo – it’s a win-win for those interested in paracoaching who came to the training.