By Fonban Emmanuel
The fresh man at the office of the Deputy Director General of the Cardinal Paul Emile Leger National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons living with Disabilities in the person of Douglas Achingale has set in motion a sporting activity for persons living with disability, named SPORTS ON WHEELS.
This was gotten off the ground on Saturday, 9 November 2019 with a basketball tournament called DOUGLAS ACHINGALE HANDI-BASKET TOURNAMENT 2019 which took place at the Center for Rehabilitation of Persons living with Disabilities at the Etoug-Ebe neighborhood.
“I have been close to four months old here as the Deputy Director General and when I came shortly after my appointment, I was approached by persons with disabilities who come and play basketball in this center every Saturday. They came up and said I could do something for them as far as sports is concerned that was what pushed me to creating an association of sports for persons with disabilities named SPORTS ON WHEEL. I created this association and it is this association that is organising this competition. I am the Chief Executive Officer of this Association” said Douglas Achingale, the Deputy DG of the Centre.
He said it was his personal commitment and funded from his own pocket with the support of some few friends who encouraged the initiative. Douglas Achingale said he considered this sporting initiative considering the energising factors of sports to persons living with disabilities.
“Sports for persons with disabilities is a factor of social integration, sports reduces isolation for this category of persons, sports bring about acceptance of others, it reinforces fair play, it eliminates some prejudices that persons with disabilities may have. It is also therapeutic as far as functional rehabilitation is concerned. Finally sports increases self confidence amongst persons with disabilities, it increases optimism and it makes them courageous” Douglas added.
The excitement of WHEEL STARS and ALL STARS, the two teams that engaged in the opening match, their determination and optimism was sufficient to confirm the words of their boss, Douglas Achingale.
However, it is vital to state that according to the versatile Deputy Director General, the HANDI-BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT is just the beginning of better things as far as sports for persons with disabilities is concerned. Douglas Achingale called on the good will of all persons interested in encouraging, empowering and fighting for the rights of persons living with disabilities, to join him in subsequent editions. He encouraged persons living with disabilities, especially those interested in sporting activities, to show up and join the optimistic venture.
The finals of the teams engaged are scheduled to be played on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Centre.