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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Come out to change society's perspectives - Kathmandu

Australian Paralympic star Katrina Webb believed the society would change its perspectives towards differently-able people if they come out and show their talents.

“If the differently-able people come out and show what they are capable of doing, the society will change,” said Webb, who won 100m and 200m gold medals in Atlanta Paralympic Games along with long jump silver in 1996, claimed two silvers and a bronze at Sydney 2000 and 400m gold at Athens 2004.

Webb is in Kathmandu upon the invitation of Childreach Nepal, an NGO working for children. She attended the premier of Hollywood movie Sold on Tuesday and visited Siddhartha Art Gallery during the opening of renowned photographer Lisa Kristine’s exhibition. The Australian athlete was encouraged to visit Nepal by Tshiring Lama, founder of Childreach when they met at a programme in Mumbai, India last year.

“I have been in the family of Paralympics since 1996 and it has become a global platform for showcasing the talent,” Webb told The Himalayan Times. “There are athletes with disability around the world but all are not able to show their talent,” she added. “I have worked as the ambassador of International Paralympics Committee in two different countries — USA and UK.

“With my good relation with the international bodies, I think I can make difference particularly for the young children,” Webb said. “Whether they are in sports or not, I will encourage them to be strong and change the society.” Webb, who was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy, said she used to hide her disability fearing boycott from the society. “If you have disability, the society will treat you in a different way. But you have to come out and cover your disability with your hard work in the field,” she said.

Asked about her success, Webb said: “If you work hard in particular field you will get success and once you start to taste success you want more and you will push yourself.” Webb went through internet and found few Para-athletes in Nepal and was willing to work with them. “I could find few players in this field but I came to know that there are two Paralympic committees in Nepal,” she said. “If these two committees come together and work for the players, the International Paralympics Committee can fund them as they have created a foundation for the developing countries,” she added.

“I am not here to change them but I can help them change,” she added. “I urge them to step up, talk about it and be bold. I did it in my country and ask the Nepali athletes to do the same here,” she added. “I will come back to Nepal in future and help the needy through my international connections,” Webb said.

Webb also met with the officials of Cricket Association of Blind (CAB-Nepal) this morning at the Australian Embassy. “I was inspired by the story of the people running blind cricket in Nepal,” said Webb. “There are more than 20 NGOs workings for differently-able sportsperson in Nepal and I also heard UNICEF is going to do some research in this topic next year. I can see things are going towards positive direction in Nepal,” said the Australian athlete. 

Source : The Himalayan , 19th Nov 2014 

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