Today marks the launch of #WeThe15 campaign of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Beginning a new global movement, the IPC is asking you to get behind WeThe15, an effort to make the world take notice of those with disabilities and initiate change by mobilising the community into one mass movement.
The IPC seeks to:
- Celebrate the 15 per cent of the world’s population with a disability.
- Promote life-changing assistive technology as a vehicle to driving the social inclusion of persons with disabilities and developing the Paralympic Movement.
- Empower governments, businesses and the public to make a commitment to an inclusive society.
BWF spoke to three-time women’s singles SH6 (Short Stature) world champion Rachel Choong for her thoughts ahead of the campaign’s launch.
“National Federations are now putting in pathways that make Para badminton more accessible to people who have never played before,” said Choong.
“If we are able to find the 15 per cent and really make a conscious effort to get them interested in Para badminton, get them playing and practising, it could be really exciting, and it will definitely help the growth of the sport,” the 27-year-old player added.
Choong is a level-one badminton coach at her local club in Liverpool, England for able-bodied children and is open to offering her skills to disabled players interested in Para badminton.
“I’d like to see if we could find a way to specifically target disabled people and ensure they know they have a route into the sport. A lot of people don’t have the knowledge available to them to make that first step into Para badminton.”
WH2 (Wheelchair) men’s singles world No.2, Chan Ho Yuen Daniel, who has built his success on his unwavering commitment to the sport, revealed Para badminton athletes are already ‘a kind of celebrity’.
“We are showing the world what we can do and what our power is. So, we are not only giving hope to the 15 per cent, but also to those without a disability. With this IPC campaign, I wish to show others a person with a disability can do great things like competing on a global stage,” Chan added.
Choong discovered the joy Para badminton had brought to her life early on and what it could do for others who want to give it a try.
“Para badminton has given me years of enjoyment and it’s something I want to be involved with for life because I’m just so passionate about the sport. I love it.”
To find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit: www.wethe15.org