Mozambique: Forever and always, Mélita! - O País
Every month, the AAIPD seated volleyball team goes to Mozambique’s Costa do Sol Beach for an outdoor game. The team, founded to overcome prejudice, already has 40 athletes, and the number is growing.
Beach volleyball session
The Aeroclube Association for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (AAIPD), created by the Mozambican businessman Vaz de Sousa, has been developing several mainly sports-related inclusion projects in Mozambique, and only recently launched the beach volleyball initiative.
Team to grow
Word-of-mouth advertising quickly got athletes arriving, and today the team has about 40 members between the ages of 27 and 60, mostly amputees and paraplegics, a result that presently surprised the project’s mentor.
Although team sports are often associated with men, most players in the AAIPD sitting beach volleyball team are women.
From the lounge to the beach
The team is led by Luís, a Cuban teacher living in Mozambique who became interested in the project and is one of those responsible for taking the sport from the lounge to the beach.
Although “specific” to this adapted sport, the rules of seated beach volleyball do not differ much from what we know. The goal remains to pass the ball over the net without it touching the ground. In seated beach volleyball, however, the pitch is smaller and net lower than in conventional volleyball.
Thanks to the help of the Mahometan Community, the AAIPD seated volleyball team has, since the beginning of the year, been able to travel to the Costa do Sol Beach once a month for an outdoor game. De Sousa highlights the “joy” with which athletes spend the day at the beach.
In addition to the beach trips, the team meets four times a week to practice. Training takes place at the Mahometan Community sports field in central Maputo.
One of the AAIPD objectives is enter competitions, but this means attracting younger athletes, which is not easy, says Vaz de Sousa, because in Mozambique, people with disabilities are still “ashamed” to expose themselves in public. This is on top of other difficulties, such as getting around in the city.
The AAIPD hopes to join the existing modalities, such as futsal for the blind, athletics for wheelchair users and seated volleyball and football for amputees. The launch of a campaign to get people with special needs into the workforce and promote a fashion show for women with disabilities are among future projects under consideration.Source: Deutsche Welle