Adapting to change

Photograph of Australian Paralympic team members at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London

Leon Fleiser takes a closer look at how the global COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted on sporting events across the globe and what this means for para athletes

WOW! What crazy times we are living in at the moment. Extremely stressful for everyone, including our para athletes. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games have been postponed for a year along with all sporting competitions from local to international – some of which were cancelled completely.

There is so much uncertainty on how and where the athletes can qualify for the Games now. It’s definitely not an ideal situation as athletes like to plan. Right now, that is not possible. Most athletes can’t even train at the moment.

“COVID-19 is a real game changer. It is going to change the way athletes prepare and participate at sporting events.”

COVID-19 is a real game changer. We are going to have to adapt the way we live from now on. It is going to change the way athletes prepare and participate at sporting events. The sporting horizon will never be the same again.

One thing I do know though is that, as para athletes, we’ve already had to adapt and per severe, so for our athletes, this is just another obstacle to overcome. They will and, hopefully soon, we will be watching them inspire the world. I can’t wait!

Leon Fleiser has been involved with sport in the disability sector since 1992 when he started playing wheelchair basketball. He captained the national team to the Sydney Paralympic Games and the 2002 World Championships. He started working for Disability Sport South Africa in 2001 as a Coordinator for High Performance. It merged into SASCOC in 2005 and he is now the Manager for Team Preparation and Academy Systems. He has delivered Team South Africa to numerous Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and African Games.


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