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The Paralympic Road to Rio

On 11 April the Faculty of Health, Nutrition & Sport at The Hague University of Applied Sciences held the symposium ‘The Paralympic Road to Rio’. Inspiring and prominent speakers like André Cats and Esther Vergeer talked about relevant aspects of adapted top-class sports, a nice foretaste of the paralympic study trip.

During the symposium, various aspects were discussed that play an important role en route to the Paralympic Games this summer in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Apart from an informative afternoon, this symposium should clearly also be viewed within a broader context. The Human Kinetic Technology Expertise Centre of THUAS, for example, is the coordinator of the RAAK project ‘The perfect sports wheelchair’, a four-year research project launched in 2013. The Hague University of Applied Sciences also has a number of important strategic partners in Brazil. This international cooperation revolves primarily around student and lecturer exchanges and research in the areas of sports, healthcare, technology, law and economics. A great example of this is the collaborative alliance – initiated by the Rehabilitation research group headed by Arend de Kloet – between Sophia Revalidatie and Sarah Networks, a Brazilian chain of hospitals and rehabilitation centres.

Paralympic study trip

As part of the international cooperation, five students from the Sportmanagement, Teacher Education in Physical Education and Human Kinetic Technology degree programmes are organising a paralympic study trip. The trip will also include a visit to Sarah Networks in Rio. Rosalie Schimmel, a lecturer in the Sportmanagement degree programme in the Faculty of Health, Nutrition and Sport, explains, ‘At the end of August, a group of 31 students and lecturers will be travelling to São Paulo, Santos and Rio, where we can look forward to a packed and informative programme. The highlight, of course, will be the Paralympic Games in Rio. It will be lots of fun, but is also in keeping with the mission of our educational institute to exchange knowledge on various levels and to draw attention to paralympic sports. The students will also have the opportunity to gain practical experience and our programme will be socially relevant. Not only that, but the knowledge gained can also be applied in education.’