The great importance of sport as a recreational activity or competition applies to persons with and without disabilities. All members train together in the martial arts club “Vienna Taekwondo Center”. Regardless of belt level and regardless of whether you have a disability or not.
In fact, the fact that people with and without disabilities are treated equally looks different in most cases. Especially when it comes to sports, there are often clear boundaries. Inclusion means shaping the environment so that everyone can participate and no one is left out. This basic idea has been implemented in the Vienna Taekwondo Center since 2016. It is currently the largest Taekwondo and Parataekwondo gym in Austria. At both sites in Schmelz and Burggasse, people with and without disabilities are trained together.
The different groups are broken down by age, not by performance. It is important that the training modules and exercises are adapted to the level of all participants. Beginners can also meet advanced skiers. “For the sake of inclusion, it is definitely important that we train together, with or without a disability,” said Cesar Valentim, the club’s technical director in an interview with “Vienna Today”.
Club members at different belt levels train together on the mat. According to Valentim, there is never any separate training for people with and without disabilities. He has been working as a Taekwondo instructor for nearly 20 years. In former sports clubs he was able to work with people with visual impairments. Valentim trained athletes in his club for twelve years, some of whom are also preparing for competitions. Taekwondo is a competitive sport and the Paralympics.
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Valentim emphasized that bold coaches and a brave club are prerequisites for integrating into the sport. This is the only way to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to participate in sports without hindrances.
Inclusion in sports
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“Inclusion in taekwondo training is enrichment, because people from different walks of life get to know each other and you can learn a lot from each other,” said taekwondo competitor Nikol Milosevic. One learns from lower graduates as well as from higher graduates. The Vienna Taekwondo Club is not afraid that the higher belt grades will show great strength in direct contact with the lower grades.
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