The 6th Conference ‘Sport as a Way to Inclusion’ breaks participation record

The athletics track of the University of Almeria welcomed more than 760 participants of the VI Conference ‘Sport as a way of social inclusion’, organised by the FAAM Foundation for Inclusion and Depoadap. A healthy breakfast consisting of fruit, juices and gazpacho served as the starting signal for this edition in which all the registration records have been broken. “More than 300 participants compared to the previous edition”, explained Valentín Sola, president of the Foundation, who personally thanked the companies and administrations “who, with their grain of sand, have made it possible for us to hold this festival of inclusion. We are very proud of this event, with which we encourage young people with and without disabilities from all over the province to spend a day together practising sport and being happy”. The inauguration of the event was attended by the president of the Almería Provincial Council, Javier A. García, the mayoress of Almería, María del Mar Vázquez, the delegate of Education, Francisco Alonso, the president of FAAM, Valentín Sola, and the president of Depoadap, José Carlos Tejada.

Among all the participants who attended, there were students from a total of eight schools in the province, who were accompanied by a large group of teachers, users of centres and associations for people with disabilities (Aspapros, A Toda Vela, Anda, Murgi, Verdiblanca, Acifa, Asperger, Asalsido, FAAM’s severely affected residence and Cernep of the UAL) as well as a total of 89 volunteers who supported the development of activities and the logistics of the event. For the meeting, the organisation has programmed a total of nineteen activities that have been developed in the different sports facilities of the university campus, all of them adapted and through which the participants have passed throughout the morning. These included rugby tag, tennis, football, climbing wall, water polo, aqua basketball, pikle ball, boccia and fencing.

The Mayoress of Almería, María del Mar Vázquez, has assured that “for the City Council, sport and inclusion go hand in hand is one of the objectives of our agenda and that is why we say that different abilities cannot be a barrier or limitation for the practice of sport. That is why we develop inclusive and adapted sports programmes and collaborate with associations”.

In this line, he recalled that “at the beginning of the year, the City Council created the Sport for Inclusion Commission, which was born with some 30 entities. Four months later, the statutes have just been modified, which has given rise to the Sport for Inclusion Advisory Council, which now has 52 active members”. María del Mar Vázquez stressed that “inclusive sport promotes awareness, knowledge and respect for difference. It gives people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in physical activities that allow them to develop motor skills, improve their physical condition and strengthen their health”. The mayor concluded by assuring that for the City Council “it is essential to promote accessibility and equal opportunities in the field of sport to ensure the inclusion of all people, regardless of their abilities”.

For his part, the president of the Provincial Council of Almería, Javier A. García, thanked Depoadap and FAAM for these days that teach essential values such as companionship, solidarity, humanity and respect for diversity: “The open days bring sport closer to schools and users of associations in the province, where more than 750 children with and without disabilities can practice about twenty modalities”.

“From the Diputación de Almería we also want to contribute to breaking down barriers so that all Almerians can practice the sport they want and compete in their favourite sport. One of our programmes to make sport accessible to everyone in Almeria is the Disability and Sport programme. Last year alone we held more than 100 activities in 20 different disciplines with 3,500 participants,” added the president of the Diputación de Almería.

The provincial delegate for Educational Development and Vocational Training, Francisco Alonso, pointed out “the importance of Sport for the social and personal development of all our children and young people” and highlighted the “mutual enrichment that these Sport as a Way to Inclusion Days are bringing with the presence and participation of students with and without disabilities or SEN”.

Likewise, the delegate of the Junta de Andalucía has informed that “we are proud that, from the Delegation of Educational Development and Vocational Training of Almeria, we have managed the participation of more than 300 students from 8 schools in the province of Almeria, accompanied by more than 50 professionals of Education in these Inclusive Sport Days that provide values, growth but also fun to our students”.

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