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News Dis+Abled2023

Dis+Abled European Summer Games – Last day

The Dis+Abled European Summer Games came to an end, leaving unforgettable memories and moving emotions. The final chord of the sporting competition was the spectacular competition on the water and the final game of sitting volleyball.

Sailing boat, dragon boat and canoe races provided the participants with incredible emotions. On the charming Durowski Lake, spectators could admire the perseverance and strength of the competitors as they fought for victory on the water courses.

Water sports are an extremely exciting activity that combines both the beauty of nature and the skills of the athletes themselves. They also provide an excellent platform for the integration of people with disabilities, as through them, people with different types of dysfunction can actively participate in competition, raise their sporting level and enjoy training on the water. These values were emphasised by the Secretary General of the Polish Paralympic Committee, Romuald Schmidt.

„The lake in Wągrowiec is made for water sports. The Wielspin centre is adapted for people with disabilities, so accessibility to the water is just perfect for them. We want to give such an impulse that the ideas we pursue in Poland, also in terms of integration, find fertile ground abroad. We have had visitors from all over Europe, and we would very much like inclusive sport to connect players in other countries too.”

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Photo: Adrian Stykowski

Dragon boat races are undoubtedly one of the most spectacular struggles on the water. They stem from a long tradition in Chinese cultures and are now enjoying increasing popularity around the world. In this discipline, usually between 10 and 20 paddlers compete in specially constructed boats, often decorated with colourful patterns and dragon heads on their bows.

Faustyna Andrzejak
Captain of the Poznan dragon boat team.

„Dragon boats originated in China, where they were sailed several thousand years ago. They came to Poland in the 1980s, and now there are clubs in every major city with competitors. The boats we sailed on in Wągrowiec are 10-person boats, but there are also 20-person boats. There is also always a drummer on the boat beating out the rhythm and a helmsman. During the training for volunteers and participants, we taught them how to sit on the boats, how to hold the oars correctly, similar to canoeists’ oars, and how to row them, and at the end we held races, which were full of excitement.”

Katarzyna Urbańska
Participant in the dragon boat race.

„I didn’t expect that sailing in a boat with 10 people you can get so tired. It was hot, but also wet and most importantly my team won, so I’m very happy.”

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Photo: Maria Gniazdowska

The competition in team sports closed with the final competition of the sitting volleyball tournament. This discipline is designed for people with mobility impairments and the rules of the game are very similar to those known from classic volleyball. The match lasts until three sets are won, and a set is won by the team that scores 25 points with a two-point lead. 

Under exceptional circumstances, able-bodied players can also participate in this sport. This usually happens at amateur competitions and sparring matches. On the field, however, non-disabled players have no advantage over players with disabilities, so the competition is particularly interesting.

Adam Malik 
Coach of the Polish women’s national sitting volleyball team.

„We even played against non-disabled players from the extraliga, where the players often lost to our teams. This shows how interesting this sport is. It certainly integrates both environments in a great way.”

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Photo: Maria Gniazdowska

The Dis+Abled European Summer Games were organised by the Polish Paralympic Committee. The event was co-financed by the European Union’s Erasmus + programme. The event was held under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate and the Minister of Sport and Tourism Kamil Bortniczuk. Media patrons of the event include TVP Sport, TVP 3 Poznań, Polish Radio and the portal niepelnosprawni.pl.