Chennai, March 5: The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai is sponsoring a two-week exchange program for 15 coaches and administrators of wheelchair basketball in the United States, March 16-31, 2019. The program will empower coaches and administrators drawn from across India with the skills and knowledge to more effectively coach, mentor, and develop leadership skills among athletes with disabilities. (Four participants are from Tamil Nadu, one from Kerala, and one from Karnataka.)
U.S. Consulate General Spokesperson Kathleen Hosie said, “The overall objective of this exchange program is to promote disability rights and inclusiveness. As part of the foreign policy of the United States, we work to remove barriers and create a world in which people with disabilities enjoy dignity, equality, and full inclusion.”
During the program, participants will engage with American peers and sports practitioners, participate in clinics and sessions on leadership, team building and conflict resolution, as well as on inclusion and equity in sport. Participants will travel to Cleveland, Ohio where they will participate in coaching clinics. In Ohio, they will attend a professional National Basketball Association (NBA) game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks. They will also attend the National Wheelchair Basketball Association tournament in Akron, Ohio. Exchange participants will spend their second week in Washington, D.C., meeting with civil society members, medical professionals, and U.S. government officials dedicated to expanding opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
The U.S. Department of State supports programs like this exchange to help increase dialogue and cultural understanding between the United States and other nations. Sports diplomacy taps into the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend cultural differences and bring people together. Similar sports exchange programs have been conducted with thousands of people from over 100 countries.
The Sports Visitor Program is a sports-based international exchange that represents American excellence, leadership, and key lessons learned in sports broadly – from playgrounds to professional leagues. Sports Visitors are non-elite youth athletes, coaches, and administrators who travel to the United States for a fast-paced short-term sports cultural exchange. Sports Visitor programs show young people how success in athletics can translate into achievements in the classroom and life. They also provide Americans with an opportunity to interact firsthand with people from every region of the world.
- Ms. Madhavi Latha, President and founder of Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India, Chennai
- Dr. Joseph James, Assistant Prof. YMCA College of Physical Education, Chennai
- Fr. Mathew K. Joseph, President, Ernakulam District Paralympic Committee, Kerala
- Mr. Lee Roy Simon, Coach Wheelchair Basketball and President, Karnataka
State Wheelchair Basketball Association, Karnataka
- Mr. Thayumana Subramanian, Coach Wheelchair Basketball, Chennai
- Dr. C. Anandajothi, General Secretary – Tamil Nadu Para Sports Association
(TPSA) & Founder Director, Sri Sugam Physiotherapy Institute Private Limited, Chennai