Canoe project a success

Not even the rain could dampen the smiles and laughter of 16 participants with physical disabilities who successfully completed a 10-week Para-Canoeing development programme at MacRitchie Reservoir yesterday morning.

The programme, which started on May 31, is a joint initiative by the Singapore Canoe Federation, the SportCares foundation, and the Asian Women's Welfare Association. It aims to use the sport as a platform to reach out to the disabled community, while offering canoeing as a form of rehabilitation for the physically disabled.

Yesterday's event also marked the official launch of the programme after the successful pilot. The second 10-week programme will be conducted on Sept 6 at MacRitchie Reservoir.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong presented certificates to participants and volunteers.

He also joined 11-year-old Iman Nuriyah Sim Liwan, who suffers from dyspraxia, a disorder affecting motor coordination, for a two-kilometre paddle.

Said Mr Wong: "The event shows how we can use sports to transform lives, to help all of us live better through sports.

"Besides being a good physical activity, canoeing also builds up (participants') confidence, resilience, and gives them a positive outlook. It's also a good opportunity for them to bond with their parents.

"It's a wonderful activity and we hope we can do similar partnerships with other voluntary welfare organisations to spread and expand the domain of para-sports in Singapore."

Iman's mother Huzi Sim said: "Iman looks forward to coming here every weekend, and will insist on coming even if the weather is bad. It's a really healthy way for her to spend the weekend instead of just staying at home."

This article was first published on August 25, 2014.
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