Thursday, 27 March 2008

Disabled Sailing

I had my first experience with disabled sailing when I was asked to be trained as a classifier for the Malaysian Paralympiad 2008 for the sport. 5 participants from Asia (3 doctors, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist)attended at 3 day seminar on Classification during the IFDS Skud18 World Championship Singapore (20th - 28th March 2008). The seminar was organised by Singapore Disability Sports Council and endorsed by the Asian Paralympic Committee with the objective of training more regional classifiers for the paralympic sports.

Classification of Disabled sailing is essentially divided into 3 parts:-

1) Functional Anatomical Test (clinic physical examination)
2) Functional Dock Test (assessment in the boat by the jetty)
3) Functional Sailing Test (observation during practice or competition)

The practical sessions were definitely helpful at introducing sailing, sailing equipment, the physical requirements during sailing and safety precautions of disabled sailing. We also learnt about the different types of boats involved in disabled sailing competition e.g. Sonar (3-person boat) and Skud (2-person boat). The excitement of watching the sport while braving the winds (and waves) definitely helps keep the adrenaline pumping. If you are careful to take lots of water, use sunscreen lotion and a hat, you could yourself from heat injuries and sunburn.

I was told to get a sailing license soon to ensure that I could take my classification training a step further. I would recommend this sport to Doctors, physiotherapists or occupational therapists who wouldn't mind getting wet and some tan! You may contact me or your local disabled sailing association if you would like to train to be a classifier.

For further information, here's a few useful sites:
IFDS Skud18 World Championship Singapore
Location: SAF Yacth Club
Live results
ISAF:Disabled Sailing
Singapore Disability Sports Council
Getting Started

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