Photo: Mathilde DusolPistorius and Vergeer
The Invacare Doubles Masters hosted South African Oscar Pistorius and Esther Vergeer, both who were Paralympic gold medallists at the London 2012 Paralympics. Oscar Pistorius, who is more commonly known as the “blade runner”, ran the 400m in both the Olympics and Paralympics. Esther Vergeer is four times Paralympic Singles Gold medallist.
They were joined by Monique Kalkman, who is also a former Paralympian and an ITF Wheelchair Tennis Ambassador at the Invacare Business Discussion in mid-November. Discussions focused on the future of the Paralympic movement but included discussions on the inclusion of able and Paralympics sports looking specifically at the Olympics.
Both Pistorius and Vergeer felt that it was very important to have inclusion and integration in different types of events, but have separate Olympics and Paralympics. Following on from London 2012 the Paralympic movement has the potential to grow from strength to strength. “It is a very exciting time that we are in. The future is bright” said Pistorius.
Despite this growth Pistorius was quick to highlight that many challenges still exist. “Many athletes are not able to do it as a professional sport/job. More corporate are getting involved but it is not where it needs to be yet”.
These changes he added do “not happen overnight, but the rate of change is unbelievable. It is about making the sport more accessible, raising the level of the sport”.
“It can only grow stronger by creating more professionalism and awareness all over the world. We have to fight for as much professionalism as we can get” said Vergeer.
Alongside this event was the Invacare Doubles Masters which saw the leading players competing for the end of year doubles title.