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LPK launches a new strategy for the development of children’s and youth parasports in the regions

The Latvian Paralympic Committee (LPK) in cooperation with “Mēness aptieka” has started to implement a new strategy for the development of children's and youth parasport in the regions


The Latvian Paralympic Committee (LPK) in cooperation with “Mēness aptieka” has started to implement a new strategy for the development of children’s and youth parasport in the regions – the President of the Latvian Paralympic Committee Daiga Dadzīte informed today while meeting with the First Lady of Latvia Andra Levite.

The strategy envisages co-financing children’s and youth parasailing classes in the regions of Latvia, proactively involving local governments and sports activists in providing such training classes. The Latvian Paralympic Committee can provide opportunities for co-financing thanks to the state budget funding and to “Mēness aptieka”, which became the general sponsor of LPK this year. The first pilot project of this type has been launched in Daugavpils – the second largest city in Latvia, which will be followed by negotiations also with other Latvian municipalities.

During the meeting, First Lady Andra Levite very positively assessed the new strategy launched by the Latvian Paralympic Committee in cooperation with “Mēness aptieka” for the development of children’s and youth parasports in the regions of Latvia, as well as the work done in the Latvian Paralympic Sports Centre project. She hoped that “this long-awaited project will receive support from the state and can be implemented”.

The First Lady emphasized: “Sports opportunities must be available to everyone. Therefore, both the adaptation of the existing sports infrastructure to the needs of people with disabilities, and the construction of the Paralympic Sports Centre in Latvia are very important. It is worrying that currently there is no sports building in Latvia that is fully adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. For this part of society, it is not just a question of leisure opportunities, but of health and vitality.”

Dins Šmits, a representative of “Mēness aptieka”, General Director of “Repharm” group of health companies, said: “The new strategy cherished together for the development of children’s and youth parasports in the regions of Latvia is a field which links two priorities important for the growth of our country – health care and support for education. “Mēness aptieka”, as the general sponsor of the Latvian Paralympic Committee, again reaffirms its support and participation, helping to solve also those needs, for which a solution would not have become reality with state funding alone.”

Natālija Novikova, president of the Parasports Association for Children and Youth, who weekly trains children and young people with cerebral palsy or disc herniation experienced during childbirth, said that “regular sports are necessary not only for physical development, but also to provide the necessary load on brain function and to develop reaction. These children spend a lot of time in the rehabilitation centre “Vaivari”, where they are taught and shown what exercises and movements are needed to strengthen the body, but afterwards it is necessary to practice these exercises regularly. Every child needs an individual program.  And not each family has a chance to ensure it independently at home. Therefore, the constant availability of such training sessions is very important, and the results and progress in children’s development from such sessions are significant.” Currently, children and young people mainly from Riga, Pierīga, Līgatne, Vangaži and Ogre attend the classes organized by the association.

Natālija admits that the problem for providing such training sessions is the lack of infrastructure, as well as the lack of funding to pay for the work of professional trainers. Currently, the association operates in Riga thanks to the co-financing of LPK and the Latvian Tennis Union, the support of the shopping center “Domina Shopping”, as well as the Elektrum Olympic Centre’s and the tennis courts ENRI support by offering more friendly prices. At the same time, training sessions can only take place once a week, as the association competes with all other sports organizations and parts of the public for training time on the existing sports infrastructure, and more frequent training simply lacks space. Therefore, Natālija also very much hopes that a Paralympic Sports Centre will be built in Latvia.

She also calls on the people of the regions to be more active and to look for sports opportunities. At the same time, she admits that the lack of access to sports infrastructure is also a major problem in the regions – often the only sports room available is a local school gym, which is mostly inaccessible to those in wheelchairs due to stairs, or the school does not have facilities for people with disabilities. However, sometimes accessibility requires only small improvements, which can be done if there is demand from the local population and engagement from the municipality or the school. Therefore, she also very positively evaluates the strategy for the development of children’s and youth sports in the regions, as it could activate the population of the regions.

Daiga Dadzīte, President of the Latvian Paralympic Committee, drew the attention of the First Lady to the fact that professional parasailors are currently regularly faced with the problem of lacking suitable training places in Latvia. “Athletes and their coaches try to creatively solve this problem by training in Riga’s parks, school stadiums, as well as in neighbouring lawns, old factory premises, etc. Children’s and adult organizations compete with all other groups in society and all sports available in Latvia for the opportunity to be physically active at sports facilities. To a large extent, this situation would be solved by the Paralympic Sports Centre, which is critically necessary for professional athletes and for organizing competitions, as well as for providing an opportunity to organize multi-day classes and training camps for children from all over Latvia, because it is also planned that the centre will include rooms where to stay overnight,” says D. Dadzīte.

LPK Secretary General Liene Apine regretted that further progress of the paralympic sports project is currently stuck in the country’s bureaucratic corridors and expressed hope that it would still be possible to implement it.

As reported, on Wednesday, 26 August, the First Lady of Latvia and the Patroness of the Paralympic Movement Andra Levite attended a children’s and youth parasports class at the “Elektrum” Olympic Centre, as well as met with representatives of the Latvian Paralympic Committee (LPK) to discuss the development of the Paralympic Movement.

This year, “Mēness aptieka” became the general sponsor of the Latvian Paralympic Committee. According to a cooperation agreement, “Mēness aptieka” provides the Latvian Paralympic Committee with funding amounting to 360 000 euros over a period of three years – 120,000 euros every year, which is intended to be used for supporting the development of paralympic sports in the regions of Latvia, to encourage the popularity of children’s and youth parasports, as well as to support professional athletes’ preparation for competitions and participation in international competitions.

About the Latvian Paralympic Committee

The Latvian Paralympic Committee (LPK) is an association responsible for sports for people with disabilities in Latvia with the aim of developing and promoting the Paralympic movement. Its task is to ensure the participation of paralympic athletes in national and international competitions, as well as to represent their interests both in Latvia and at the international level. LPK is also responsible for non-paralympic or adapted sports. At present, the Latvian Paralympic Committee consists of 22 sports federations, offering opportunities to practice 23 different sports to those interested. The co-operation partners of the Latvian Paralympic Committee also cover deaf sports, as well as the Special Olympics. The Latvian Paralympic Committee is a member of the International and European Paralympic Committee.

The information was prepared by:

Ieva Prauliņa                

Representative of the Latvian Paralympic Committee

Phone: + 371 29373305

Email: praulinaieva@gmail.com