IBSA is developing women’s Goalball in West Asia
The IBSA Goalball Sport Committee chairperson, Aurora Zanolin, and the West Asia Para Federation for Disabled Sport (WAPF) have been working together towards the promotion and rise of disabled sports in that region, with special attention to women’s participation.
Last August, a meeting took place with 11 representatives of the National Paralympic Committees (NPC) from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
On the agenda was the discussion between the members about visual impairment sports in West Asian countries, suggestions, proposals, initiatives, and recommendations.
According to the numbers referred to in the meeting, all together there are 87 women practicing several blind sports, including Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Athletics, Shooting and Chess, including the ten girls under 10 in Yemen registered in Athletics.
The common challenges that face women’s visual impairment sports in West Asian countries and especially Goalball, pointed out in the meeting, are social obstacles (customs and traditions) that make women not involve themselves in sports, especially for visual impairments; financial challenges; a lack of women’s technical staff like coaches, referees, and volunteers; and a lack of special sports’ facilities and Goalball equipment.
For that reason, the recommendations discussed were to qualify the technical female staff in Goalball and other IBSA sports, especially coaches and referees, by organising a series of qualification clinics in West Asian countries and supporting those NPC’s teams with Goalball sport equipment and other sports by IBSA solidarity programmes.
Jordan NPC suggested hosting clinics for Goalball referees and coaches under IBSA supervision and supported by them for women’s staff only.
Aurora Zanolin joined the meeting with the following names and organisations: Roula Assi (WAPF’s Women in Sports Chair); Jasser Nuweiran (WAPF’s Sports Committee Chair); and Masbah Jafar (WAPF’s CEO), stating in the end: “I believe that this project is very important for our sport and that it is the first time that Goalball starts a project specially dedicated to women. I’ll work to find funding to start, and I will expect that all those in charge in their respective countries will do their best to have as many participants in the developing clinics that we will be able to organise as well as to recruit athletes”.
“I consider regional and gender development one of the main priorities for the development of IBSA. A lot of talented young people, especially girls, need such targeted projects. We will definitely be there for them and encourage everyone who has the ability to help in the implementation of these projects”, said IBSA’s president of the Executive Board Ilgar Rahimov.