United States Supports Swim Camp For Differently-Abled Athletes

Mumbai – 40 paraplegic athletes from across India kicked off a swimming camp yesterday, sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, in association with the Indian Paraplegic Foundation and the American School of Bombay.

The camp, which will run for four days through October 27, aims to empower differently abled athletes and improve the quality of life through sports.

The training will be led by renowned para-athlete Shams Aalam, who participated in a U.S. Government-sponsored Global Sports Mentorship program earlier this year.  Mr. Aalam, an international para-swimmer and karate athlete, works to advocate for disability rights and youth empowerment in India. He is the founder and general secretary of the Para Sports Association in Mumbai. Shams Alam said that

“Through these initiatives,” Mr. Aalam said, “I am encouraging differently-abled people to play sports, travel, and participate in all activities.”

40 para-athletes from across India, six life guards, volunteers from the Paralympic Swimming association of Maharashtra, and representatives from the Indian Paraplegic Foundation will participate.  This camp will also help find an emerging talent in para-sports to represent India at the global level.

Inaugurating the camp, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Ben East said, “The U.S. Consulate in Mumbai sponsored Aalam’s participation in the Global Sports Mentoring Program because we were inspired by his story.  His month-long mentorship experience in the United States provided support and guidance advocating for disability rights at home.  The Sports Mentoring Program plus Shams’ great physical prowess are a powerful combination for positive social change, and we see the results of that in this week’s camp.”

Through this program and other exchanges, the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai aims to engage with emerging leaders willing to serve their communities by increasing access to and opportunities for underserved populations.

For media queries and high resolution photos, please contact Kashyap Pandya on kashyapp@state.gov

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