For the first time, a sport event for people with disabilities was held on May 17 in Hpa-an Karen State. Organisers said the aim of the event was to encourage the community to recognize the value of people with disabilities.
Myanmar Red Cross, Australia Red Cross, and the Karen Handicap Sports Committee worked together to hold the inaugural Disabled Sport Competition in the Karen State’s capital stadium.
Nan Kyawt Kay Thi Aung, an organizer of the event and the manager of the Myanmar Prosthetic Branch Office spoke to Karen News.
“In Myanmar, we only have one wheelchair basketball national team. The Karen State team is the second best in Myanmar. Thus, in Karen State, for people with disabilities to play better in sports and to let them know that they can do so much even though they are disabled. We intend to encourage them.”
Organisers said that the event was a success with more than 50 people taking part in wheelchair basketball, table-tennis, badminton and cane-ball. A sport competition for children with disabilities was also held and prizes for the winners presented by Karen State’s Chief Minister, Nan Khin Htwe Myint.
Aung Ko Ko, a member of Myanmar’s national basketball team, who traveled from Yangon to play at the event spoke highly about basketball in Karen State’s.
“This state team is good and they try really hard. At first, I didn’t think they would be this good. They can play as well as us. It took time for us to play this good. I don’t want this basketball team to disappear. I want this to become our country’s national team.”
Aung Ko Ko encouraged people with disabilities to play sport.
“As disabled people, instead of feeling small, we should observe the world around us and find out more about what other disabled people are capable of. If there are disabled people who want to do sport, we warmly welcome you to join us at the Disabled Sport Stadium in North Dagon, Yangon.”
The Handicap Sport Committee was established in 2014 with the objective of encouraging disabled children in Karen State to play sport.