The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published an article today that said despite the Ebola outbreak in the region, competitors from Sierra Leone continue to push forward to try to advance disability sport in their country. The Sierra Leone Paralympic Committee (SLPC ) held a workshop in late November in Freetown focusing on governance, management, leadership and sport promotion with a goal of developing a plan for moving disability sport forward in the country.
Unisa Deen Kargbo was the primary organizer of the workshop. Karbo serves as the program lead for the Agitos Foundation’s Organisational Capacity Programme (OCP). The event was attended by members of the SLPC, athletes and sport administrators. Kargo was quoted by the IPC as saying of the event, “I am going to have a one day interactive session to present the draft strategic plan and a budget to support the activities on it. […] I have also informed that come next year when Ebola shall have been a thing of the past we shall introduce Paralympic Day to raise awareness on disabled sports.”
Sierra Leone only sent one competitor, Mohamed Kamara, to the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Kamara was only the second competitor ever to represent his country at the Paralympic Games, with javelin thrower Marah Kelley the first competitor who competed at the 1996 Summer Paralympics in Atlanta. Sierra Leone’s neighbor Liberia, also afflicted with Ebola, made their Paralympic debut at the 2012 Games when powerlifter James Siaffa competed in London.
Ebola is not the only challenge for parasportpeople in Africa. Fédération des Sports des Handicapés, the National Paraympic Committee for Guinea-Bissau, is currently suspended from the IPC. That country sent to athletes to London to compete. When and how that happened is unclear, and there appears to be no information on the IPC website. National Paralympic Committee of Mauritania and Somali Paralympic Committee are also suspended from IPC membership.