Polynesian para va’a is booming
Para va’ a allows many people to practice a discipline rich in sporting and cultural values. This discipline could experience a new boom thanks to its registration at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo and the formation of 5 Polynesians who will become classifiers of para athletes.
I/ Extraordinary enthusiasm for para va’ a
Since its creation, the LOC has been working in partnership with the Fédération Polynésienne du Sport Adapté et Handisport (FPSAH) to relaunch para va’ a. In 2017, nearly 8 handisport associations participate in va’ a sessions. A motivation is reinforced by a COL innovation: the creation of an exhibition race open to the mentally disabled persons !
Thus, a participation record was set during the 1st Va’a World Marathon Championships with 123 para athletes against 34 in Australia in 2016.
II/ Let’s go to the Worlds!
Faced with the craze for the next IVF Va’a World Sprint Championships by the Polynesian para athletes, the FPSAH organized selective races, with the support of the LOC and the Tahitian Va’ a Federation! Tahiti has 3 lanes in V1 Elite for each category of handicap: VL1, VL2 and VL3. Patrick Viriamu multiple world champion has a dedicated lane.
These are about fifteen athletes who competed in Arue last Saturday, February 17 to compare their times! A beautiful evolution of the discipline which will undoubtedly be reinforced by the inscription of the para va’ a at the Paralympic Games of Tokyo in 2010. Tahiti representing promises of medals for France at the Paralympic Games.
If these athletes are unofficially pre-classified by the FPSAH technical managers, they will be officially classified by international IVF classifiers next July.
Discover this day in pictures: Page facebook de la FPSAH
III/ Certifiers to develop the para va’ a.
Up until now, there is no person qualified to classify athletes in French Polynesia. In 2018, the LOC is committed to supporting the training of 5 classifiers from French Polynesia: a doctor, three technical managers of the FPSAH and a supervisor of the Christian Fraternity. All of them left Tahiti on 27 February for a training course in Australia, where they will be able to become national classifiers.
The stakes of this training are high. Indeed, by being able to give national classifications, they could remove the major obstacle of moving local athletes to the metropolis. They can also be the local relay of the French Canoe Kayak Federation, which manages the para va’ a discipline at the Olympic level and supervises local development poles.
The way will be opened to the first Parava’ a Olympic medals.