Disabled children need opportunities to engage in sport
Only 3% of disabled children in Russia engage in sport, according to Vladimir Malits of the Ministry of Sport, Culture and Youth Policy at a round table discussion on physical education and adaptive sports for the disabled organised by the Public Chamber. The main aim of the discussion was to examine the actual state of affairs of adaptive physical education for the disabled and to make recommendations to improve it.
According to Valery Seleznev, deputy in the Duma concerned with disabled affairs, it was necessary to pass a special law since the concept of “adaptive physical education” was only indicated in a single article of the law on physical education and sport. He also supported the creation of a single federal coordination centre with overall charge of sports for the disabled, which at present they came under three departments – Ministry of Sport and Tourism of Russia, Ministry of Health and Social Development and Ministry of Education and Science. Anatoly Tsarik of the Paralympic Committee of Russia was in agreement with Seleznev and proposed the creation of an interdepartmental centre for adaptive physical education and sport for the disabled. Seleznev stated, however, that such coordinating activity could be handed over to voluntary organisations for the disabled that could deal with it better than bureaucrats.
According to Mikhail Terentiev of the Paralympic Committee of Russia, the main reason for the low involvement of disabled children in sport was the lack of accessible public transport in Russia and the unsuitable conditions at physical education centres and sports schools for the needs of people with disabilities. According to his colleague Tsarik, only 18 out of 5000 sports schools were provided for disabled children. This situation should be rectified with the active participation of regional authorities and voluntary associations for the disabled.Specific recommendations will follow from this round table discussion of the working group of the Public Chamber, which will monitor their subsequent implementation by the state authorities.