Norway’s Sports confederation president pledges more support for athletes with disabilities

Berit Kjøll smilingPhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB
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Berit Kjøll, president of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports, admitted that sports in Norway have untapped potential when it comes to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

In an interview with news bureau NTB on Sunday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) and Minister of Culture Abid Raja (V) challenged Norwegian sports to do more to include children with disabilities.

The Minister of Culture referred, among other things, to the fact that sports receive significant funding from society, including through the gambling payment scheme, and that it is natural to set clear requirements and expectations as a result.

Sports President Berit Kjøll acknowledged that athletes with disabilities are underrepresented in sports. 

At the same time, she pointed out that work is already being done on several fronts to strengthen the inclusion of para-athletes.

” Working on the integration of the disabled is something we do all the time in Norwegian sports. And at the end of October, we will receive a new and important report on what measures are needed to make the para-sports stronger. It will be an important milestone for the work we do in the future,” Kjøll told NTB.

Untapped potential

In Sunday’s NTB interview, the Raja pointed out that volunteering and sports already have success in including those with disabilities. 

However, Raja believes that more needs to be done.

According to Kjøll, there are now reports of para-athletes in 135 different sports.

“At the same time, we see that we have a large untapped potential to include far more people with disabilities,” Kjøll noted.

Enthusiasm required

At the end of the month, a new report prepared by Oslo Economics on behalf of the Norwegian Sports Confederation will be presented. 

The report will shed light on the needs of people with disabilities and identify possible measures the sport can take.

“Without going too far into the report that will be issued on October 27, we can say that there is no single conclusion on what is a good offer for the target group. Better information and availability of offers are not always enough. A great deal of effort is often required to make potential athletes understand that sport is also for them,” Kjøll said.

The president of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports also pointed out that the sports services provided locally often depend on enthusiasts having access to sufficient help and competence.

The report that is now on its way will give an even clearer picture of where help is needed.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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