A new draft national inclusive sport policy has been published in Fiji which aims to give every disabled person in the country the opportunity to participate in sport.
Launched by the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP), it has been backed by Iliesa Delana, who at London 2012 became the first Fijian to claim a Paralympic medal when he won gold in the F42 high jump.
Delana, elected to Fiji's Parliament in elections earlier this year, is now Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports.
"Your deliberations are highly important for Government especially the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Fiji National Sports Commission as they are creating awareness for sporting inclusiveness for all Fijians irrespective of race, colour, gender or physical status," he said.
The draft document has been funded by Australian Sports Outreach Programme, which is grant-funded through the Australian Sports Commission, and has been developed by a group of organisations comprised of the Director of Youth and Sports, Fiji National Sports Commission, Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee(FASANOC), Fiji Disabled People's Federation and FNCDP.
"I wish to thank all the stakeholders present here for availing yourselves, your role today I believe will be to consolidate and provide the impetus for a policy direction and establishing a way forward for our disabled sportsmen and women," said Delana.
FNCDP executive director Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa claimed the initiative will prove groundbreaking.
Delana was also confident the initiative would provide an opportunity for disabled people in Fiji.
"May I emphasise that the policy will have to alleviate and if possible eliminate all possible barriers to participation of persons with disabilities in any form of sporting activities," he said.
"They on an individual level constantly face barriers to their participation and involvement in sport at any level compared to those without disability."
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