The schoolchildren learn how to help handicapped people at meetings with Olympians

How difficult is it to lead your blind friend through a slalom track? How is it possible to overcome obstacles when a person is handicapped? What does respect and fair play mean? The schoolchildren learn answers to these questions during Olympic training sessions that are organised as a reward for the schools participating in Sazka Olympic Allround Sports. These training sessions are attended by Olympians and successful athletes and are accompanied by amusing exercise games that present Olympic values in common everyday situations.

Sazka Olympic Allround Sports, the common project of Sazka and the Czech Olympic Committee, has been helping to motivate children to be actively involved in sport and improve their physical form for five years already. Almost 1,200 schools from the whole Czech Republic are involved in the project. The active schools from all the regions get regular chance to win a training session with a sport star. The training sessions organised in this year also offer the activities inspired by International Programme Playdagogy that was founded in France in relation with the preparation of Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

The objective of the programme that is financed from the EU project Erasmus+ is to increase the public knowledge of the Olympic values among the children in various European countries and to form their relation to the handicapped people. Its objective is to teach the children in a form of exercise games about friendship, respect, co-operation and uniqueness of every human being.

The basketball player Ilona Burgrová led the first Olympic training session enriched by the Playdagogy project activities. The World Championships 2010 silver medallist visited the schoolchildren from lower classes in a small school in Habartice in Liberec. “It was fantastic to see the change. At the beginning of the training session the kids did not even know what the word respect means. At the end of the programme during the discussion they eagerly wanted to tell us themselves what it means for them,” Burgrová said.

During the almost two-hour session the pupils tried several games, for example “blind slalom”, during which they were blindfolded and had to rely on the help of their schoolmate who took them through the track. This helped them to learn how to accept orders from a man who helps and at the same time lead somebody who needs such a help. The other game requires co-operation of two children who must overcome a track with obstacles with tied legs, so they have to rely on each other.

“We are trying to discuss everything with the kids between the games, so they can learn something new for their everyday life. Every game is always related to the personality of the child – during the blind slalom it was clearly seen who is a team player trying to navigate the team-mate and who is an individualist and wants to win regardless of the “handicap” of his team-mate,” Štěpán Janáček, three-time Olympian in pole vault and sport manager of Sazka Olympic Allround Sportsproject said.

Since the beginning of the project also handicapped children may participate in it, naturally. They fulfil the events of the Combined according to their abilities. For the last two years the Sazka Olympic Allround Sportscontains also Paralympic Challenge that enables schools with individual handicapped children and with a special educational programme to participate. The objective of the Sazka Olympic Allround Sportsis to show to the children that exercising is a part of the healthy lifestyle and that they may overcome their limits thank to sport and develop features that may help them in their life – not only in the sporting career.

During the spring the Olympic training sessions will be held in fourteen schools in all the regions of the Czech Republic that were drawn by the ambassador of the project – Olympic winner in Modern Pentathlon David Svoboda. The other schools will have a chance to win the Olympic training sessions in April 2019.