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Disability Sports, An Eye-Opener for Unity Secondary School Student Leaders

Unity Secondary School Student Leaders experiencing a game of goal ball.
 
On 5 June 2012, the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Kids Inclusive Sports Club (KISC) collaborated with Unity Secondary School to introduce modified disability sports to the student leaders during their Student Leader Camp.

The objective of the programme was to strengthen the attitudes and abilities of these student leaders as sportspersons by exposing them to disability sports and allowing them to experience some of the obstacles and challenges faced by individuals with physical, vision, hearing and learning impairments.

The 13 student leaders tried their hands on the modified disability sports, which comprised of table tennis, goal ball, sitting volleyball, wheelchair racing and wheelchair badminton.

The students rotated through the five stations around Unity Secondary School’s indoor sports hall, allowing every student the opportunity to experience the modified disability sports without compromising on their playing time.

The student leaders were led out of their comfort zone as they played the games with modified rules that limited their movement, abilities and senses, in order to experience the complexities of disability sports. This not only instilled a sense of understanding, but also respect and sensitivity towards people with disabilities. Lim Jia Qi, 15, captain of the volleyball team said, “ I feel that the disabled athletes are great role models because they teach all of us to better appreciate ourselves and to build a fighting spirit to overcome any obstacles we face in sports well as in our lives.”

In the game of wheelchair badminton, the students could not depend on their legs for movement and speed. Instead, they were provided with wheelchairs to maneuver up and down the playing area. This proved to be a demanding task, as they had to coordinate their arm movements after returning a serve.

“The students learnt about the different aspects of games that could be modified to benefit the disabled children,” Tiffany Koh, 26, teacher-in-charge of the Unity Secondary school student leader camp commented, “This widened their understanding of disability sports.”
 
Students engaging in a modified game of table tennis.

During the session, the student leaders not only discovered the challenges of playing sports with a disability, but also took home new knowledge on how existing games can be modified to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.

Tiffany later added, “Overall, our students enjoyed the session very much, they managed to take away valuable lessons in all 3 domains: physical, affective and cognitive. The session changed the perceptions that our sports leaders initially had on disability sports - from sympathy to admiration.”

By: Muhammed Iqbal Bin Abdul Rahim
 
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