Athletics Canada releases Becoming Para Ready to support Para Athletics growth in Canada
Guided by the “Becoming Para Ready” framework developed by the Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, Athletics Canada has developed a national Para Athletics development strategy that will focus on building a strong foundation at the Provincial and Territorial level, creating greater capacity, support and alignment of Para Athletics, including integration and inclusion at all levels.
In 2021, a survey was conducted of Athletics Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Branches, Disability Sport Organizations, athletes, coaches, and other key partners in the delivery and development of Para Athletics, within the domestic landscape in Canada. The results of this outreach highlighted systemic gaps and barriers that may prevent athletes and participants with a disability from having a positive and inclusive experience in sport.
The surveys and interviews showed that barriers within the branches, clubs and with individuals such as limited capacity, knowledge, confidence, funding, and alignment can make it difficult to know where to begin. Key areas such as coaching education, competition, classification and officiating we’re identified as areas of focus. There are also misconceptions and stigma around integration. It’s often assumed that it’s hard and complicated to be integrated but with support, the proper tools and better understanding, we can support all athletes to reach their best potential.
“Becoming Para Ready” was born with the goal to provide a starting point for organizations and individuals in supporting and contributing to the growth of Para Athletics within Canada.
The resource is designed primarily for coaches and administrators who support Athletics in Canada; however, useful information is included that will be relevant to anyone that interacts, supports, and engages with Para athletes. Becoming Para Ready is designed to guide organizations and programs to become more inclusive and develop understanding of the nuances of Para Athletics to better support athletes with a disability.
The resource can be viewed on the temporary Athletics Canada Para Athletics page and further information and resources will be available with the launch of their new page.
In the meantime, the Athletics Canada coaching newsletter will feature monthly Para ready and Para Athletics sections and you can sign up here.