Disabled sport: between inclusion, growth and challenge

Paralympic athletes in a speed event
Determination and surpassing oneself are an integral part of the mindset of disabled athletes

The world of disabled sport is constantly evolving, focusing on the inclusion of people with disabilities through the practice of sport. Initiatives such as “La Réunion pour Tous” and “Assure Ton Sport” play an essential role in promoting the accessibility, safety and development of individuals with disabilities. After looking at the challenges in this field, we’ll be highlighting the enthusiasts who are improving the daily lives of people with disabilities.

Handisport: From confidentiality to popularisation

Disabled sports has grown significantly in recent years, increasing its visibility and popularity. Major sporting events such as the Paralympic Games and the World Handisport Championships have highlighted the exceptional talents of disabled athletes. This increased visibility helps to raise public awareness and break down prejudices about disability.

An inclusive approach

The inclusion of people with disabilities has been strengthened by the creation of federal structures dedicated to disabled sport. As well as offering these individuals the chance to take part in a variety of sporting disciplines, this inclusive approach encourages their personal development and social integration.

Wheelchair basketball
Disabled sports promotes the development and social integration of people with disabilities.

Improving the accessibility of sports facilities has been essential to the growth of disabled sport. Investment in the creation of stadiums, swimming pools and gymnasiums adapted for people with reduced mobility has improved their training and competition conditions. It has also encouraged disabled young people to take up sport, boosting their physical and psychological development.

Awareness-raising and education

The states have set up programmes to raise awareness of disabled sport, both in schools and among the general public. These initiatives aim to combat stereotypes and change perceptions about disabled people.

However, despite these positive advances, challenges remain. Funding for disabled sport remains a major issue, with growing needs in terms of financial support for athletes, clubs and infrastructure. In addition, universal access to adapted sports facilities is still a work in progress, requiring further efforts to make sport truly accessible to all.

Two disabled athletes playing football
Just like the motivation of these athletes, there are no limits to disability sport.

“La Réunion pour Tous”: Accessibility, Leisure and Development

Founded in 2021 by Camille Coulombel, Réunion pour Tous aims to promote access to leisure activities for people with disabilities. The organisation also works to raise awareness among tourist establishments of the importance of inclusiveness.

“Our team gives disabled people better access to leisure activities. We also help establishments open to the public to better welcome and support people with disabilities,” says Camille.

Inclusivity as a driving force

The company came into being thanks to the awareness of this philanthropic entrepreneur, a speech therapist by profession, who saw the crucial need for inclusivity for these people. “I realised that people who became disabled as a result of an accident quickly lost their sense of social responsibility. They didn’t allow themselves to resume activities they had done before, let alone discover new ones”, she points out.

Disabled athlete performing a body-building movement
Whatever your disability, taking part in sport is possible and beneficial

As its name suggests, Réunion pour Tous aims to make the island of Réunion more accessible to all visitors and locals, whatever their circumstances. Many people with reduced mobility, faced with their new reality, may find themselves isolated and unable to take part in the activities they used to enjoy.

“Our primary mission is to identify places that offer comfortable and friendly access for people with disabilities,” says Camille, who lists these places in an Interactive Guide. As well as listing tourist establishments, La Réunion pour Tous offers awareness-raising and support services to train professionals to better welcome this group of visitors.

Raising awareness: an essential pillar

“Awareness-raising missions are particularly important to us. They focus on welcoming and supporting people with disabilities, as well as their interpersonal skills and know-how,” she emphasises.

To give itself the means to achieve its ambitions, Camille has introduced specific certification. This label gives people with disabilities the opportunity to choose their leisure activities with complete confidence.

An inclusive future

Réunion pour Tous is currently working on identifying hiking trails that are accessible to people with reduced mobility. “The big project on Réunion is to identify all the routes that are accessible to people with walking difficulties. This includes people who are returning to sport, those who are overweight or those with cognitive problems, autism, etc.” explains Camille.

Disabled person on an athletics field
Assure Ton Sport covers people with reduced mobility in their sporting activities

So working with Assure Ton Sport sports insurance makes sense. It is one of the few insurance companies to cover people with reduced mobility in their sporting activities.

“The development of people with disabilities and their social inclusion were particularly close to our hearts. That’s why we’ve been working hard to extend our insurance solutions to this group,” says one of the members of the Assure Ton Sport team.

As a result, through their ‘Handisport’ endorsement, their policy can insure surfing, paragliding, mountain biking, hiking, scuba diving and other sports enthusiasts against bodily injury sustained while practising their sport. This article takes a closer look at the major issue of insurance cover for sporting activities.

In short, La Réunion pour Tous and Assure Ton Sport are working hand in hand to make La Réunion more inclusive and accessible, enabling all visitors to enjoy the wonders of this paradise island to the full, regardless of their disability.

By Charly Colin