In a new series of blog posts we aim to help bring the Kit Us Out journey to life, and where better place than the start…
SHORT HISTORY OF THE PARALYMPIC MOVEMENT
Para-sport, or disability sport, is played by people with physical and intellectual disabilities and has existed for more than 100 years. Para-sport is generally divided into three broad disability groups: deaf people, people with physical disabilities and people with intellectual disabilities. Each group has its own history, organisation and approach and each group has made significant contributions to what is considered modern-day para-sport.
In the 19th century, research into para-sport proved sporting activity was very important for the re-education and rehabilitation of people with a disability. The Paralympic movement began in the 1940s, shortly after the end of World War II. With a large number of injured soldiers and civilians disabled during combat, para-sport offered a fantastic method of treatment and rehabilitation.
The man behind the Paralympic movement was a German neurologist named Ludwig Guttmann, a leading pre-World War II neurologist. A huge believer in sport as a method of rehabilitation for the disabled, Guttmann established the Stoke Mandeville Games in July 1948, to coincide with the starting date of the Opening Ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games in London.
The International Paralympic Committee is the organisation responsible for running the Paralympic movement and para-sport around the World. It was founded in 1989 in Germany. Today there are 25 para-sports forming part of the Paralympic movement, however there are hundreds of other para-sports (competitive or otherwise) that disabled people participate in, as para-sport increases in popularity around the world.
WHAT IS KIT US OUT
Our founder, Alex, was a volunteer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Alex and two other volunteers, Dermot and Paul, noticed that a large number of athletes from developing nations had little or no kit. The lack of proper kit for the athletes resulted in issues from training to competing – and in some cases even causing injuries.
It was heartbreaking for them to watch these athletes represent their countries in front of the world, but being held back by the lack of basic kit – so they felt something had to be done. Initially they bought a few items of specific kit, but then media heard about what they were doing, other athletes came forward and things started to snowball. A week later, “Kit Us Out” was born.
The first project of the organisation was a big one – The London 2012 Paralympic Games. Together with the support of the London Games volunteers, Kit Us Out was able to provide competition level kit to over 60 athletes from 16 nations.
Since then, thanks to the huge interest and offers of support from the public across the globe, Kit Us Out has become a registered charity and has worked in other big para-sport events, such as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
We have now signed a partnership agreement with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Powerlifting Federation and have been working with National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and National Para athletics teams across the world in order to improve training and competition conditions for para athletes.
The journey we have been on has been thanks to the generosity and support we have received from people and companies across the world. However, the work continues and we hope to bring more kit and gear to more para athletes around the globe.
If you want to read more about our work and get involved or to donate, please go to our website.