If you’re a person with a disability and you’re looking for a career in sports, why not train to become a Paralympian? It can be challenging to play a sport at an international level. But nothing is impossible with hard work and the right training.
Below are the steps you can take to begin your journey to become a Paralympian.
Decide on a sport
Not all sports are part of the Paralympics. For more details, you can check the list of eligible sports on the International Paralympic Committee’s website.
You should choose a sport that you’re comfortably with, and that you are ready to train for in the long run.
Confirm your eligibility
Each Paralympic sport has athletes participating in different classes. Different sports can have different classes, or different numbers of classes. For instance, there is only one class for sports such as para ice hockey or powerlifting, but para athletics has a total of 52 different classes.
A para athlete is classified based through three steps, which consider:
- Eligible impairment, which can include impaired movement or strength, missing or impaired limbs, visual impairment, or intellectual impairment.
- Minimum disability criteria as determined by that sport. Some examples may include a maximum height for short-statured athletes, or levels of amputation for a para athlete missing a limb.
- The most fitting sports class based on your ability level and how your disability affects or limits your performance.
For more information about classification, visit the IPC’s page on classification here.
The best and only way to get better at your sport is to train and keep training. It is recommended to train at least 5 days a week with a private coach approved by IPC and/or with national Paralympic coaches. Individual sports federations often organize classifier courses to improve the standard of each sport. This would be a good avenue to meet and train with qualified coaches. If you’re interested, you can write in to email@example.com or get in touch with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia.
Now that you’re training hard, it’s time to start joining competitions. Competitions and tournaments help you improve, test your skills, and gain more experience. You can take part in regional, national and international-level events as you qualify for them.
Contact Malaysia’s NPC (National Paralympic Committee)
Once you are ready to join a national team, get in touch with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia if you haven’t done so already. You can only compete as a Paralympian with representation by the council. They are contactable via their website.
Sign up for the Paralympics
Now that you’re ready to take on the challenge, you can sign up here to begin your journey as a Paralympian and compete on an international stage.
Volunteering as a non-athlete
If you’re not interested to compete but would still love to be part of the Paralympic Sports, you can sign up to be a volunteer. There are options to be a volunteer for the Paralympic Games, World Championships and Regional Championships. All you have to do is get in touch with the Organising Committees of the competitions. For upcoming Paralympic Games, please go to www.tokyo2020.jp or www.beijing2022.cn.
Good luck, and see you at the Paralympics!
International Paralympic Committee (2014) Frequently Asked Questions [Accessed: 8 April 2019] Available at: https://www.paralympic.org/frequently-asked-questions
International Paralympic Committee (2002) List of Para Sports and Events [Accessed: 8 April 2019] Available at: https://www.paralympic.org/sports
International Paralympic Committee (2002) Athletes [Accessed: 8 April 2019] Available at: https://www.paralympic.org/athlete
International Paralympic Committee (2002) Clasification introduction [Accessed: 8 April 2019] Available at: https://www.paralympic.org/classification
N.Whitney (2016) How to Become a Paralympian [Accessed: 8 April 2019] Available at: https://www.nchpad.org/1518/6485/How~to~Become~a~Paralympian