Lausanne (Switzerland): Athletes with intellectual disability will be provided with more opportunities to play Para-hockey following the signing of a long-term agreement between the International Hockey Federation and International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by both organisations following extensive discussions and planning recently.
This formalisation will see the development and implementation of strategies and programmes aimed at growing the discipline of Para-Hockey for persons with intellectual disability as part of the FIH’s continued drive to increase access to hockey at all levels and abilities, as part of the 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy.
Whilst plans to develop this discipline form the foundations of this agreement, FIH have committed to a number of measures relating to governance, regulation and administration. This will include the establishment of classification criteria as well as measures designed to manage anti-doping and corruption.
FIH President, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, said: “This is an exciting time for our sport and in particular Para-Hockey. The signing of this MoU with INAS outlines our commitment to the development and promotion of this discipline and provides yet another example of hockey’s inclusive, a key component of our 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy.”
“We look forward to working with INAS to create a solid structure aimed at increasing access to Para-Hockey over the coming years,” he added
Amaury Russo, INAS President, observed: “We are delighted to be working with FIH in the coming years. Signing this MoU is a significant step for both organisations and the sport of Para-Hockey. We know that there are thousands of people already engaged with this discipline and now, together with FIH, we can really push on with developing opportunities globally through a professionally structured, long-term strategy.”
One of the immediate tasks will be the undertaking of a global audit to monitor participation figures in relation to this discipline. A concerted effort will also be made to promote Para-Hockey amongst FIH’s 137 National Associations and INAS’ 78 Member Organisations.
Once this discipline becomes further established internationally, it is the intention to integrate Para-Hockey events into the international hockey calendar, with a view to introducing Continental events and World Cups, another important step towards possible Paralympics Games inclusion in the future.