©GIZ

02.09.2021

Representing Togo in Tokyo: sport unites people

Jacqueline Kabissa is competing in the shot put at the Paralympic Games. A sports project for people with disabilities has been supporting her along the way.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around 700,000 people with disabilities living in Togo. Jacqueline Kabissa is one of them. The 31-year-old has been living with a prosthetic leg since suffering an accident eight years ago. Nonetheless, she works as a seamstress and is head of a household with four children. But that's not all: Jacqueline Kabissa is competing for Togo in the shot put at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She is fulfilling a great dream in the process: ‘I’m so proud of how I've fought to achieve this goal. It wasn't easy finding the time to train, but I managed to qualify for the Games.’

Fostering inclusion through professional training

She was supported on her journey by the Togolese Association for People with Disabilities project ‘Sport without barriers’. The project makes available sports activities for people with disabilities, as they are often still excluded from taking part in sports. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is promoting ‘Sport without barriers’ on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ).

Jacqueline Kabissa and 25 other sportspeople with disabilities can train at a sports centre in the capital city, Lomé, with professional planning and support. The centre is led by Nana Blakimé, a former Olympic heptathlete. Now she is also training Jacqueline Kabissa and is delighted by their shared successes: ‘We're happy that Jacqueline is able to take part in the Paralympic Games. It's good for the project and might open up even more opportunities for us.’

Sportspeople with disabilities, like Jacqueline Kabissa, are not just athletes, but also role models. They send out an important message. It’s not only about their sporting potential, but also about their place in society.

The shot put is taking place in Tokyo on 2 September. Jacqueline Kabissa has big ambitions for the competition: ‘I’m going for gold, so I'm training hard and not sleeping much.’ For her trainer Nana Blakimé, the important thing is her personal experience: ‘Whether she wins a medal or not, we’re hoping that she has interesting experiences, gets to know the culture and comes back motivated.

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