Youngsters give touch rugby the thumbs up at the sportify event on Thursday 5 March, 2020
Photo: LaLa La Photo
A week of inclusive sports involving St George’s International School students with Greek and Austrian youngsters with learning difficulties culminated in a morning of touch rugby.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Despite the fact that Thursday’s session, coordinated by Luxembourg Touch and a handful of volunteer coaches, was hosted in the wet and cold at Boy Konen stadium, spirits could not have been higher.
“We found it really uplifting because the kids’ attitudes were amazing. There were a couple of lads who had severe difficulties […] But they did really well,” Frank told Delano.
The four Austrian students from a state school in Graz and four Cypriots, from a special school in Larnaca, Cyprus, came to Luxembourg as part of “sportify”, an inclusive sports programme.
“The more integrated people with learning difficulties are in everyday society, the more likely they are to access and thrive in everyday society,” Frank explained. “One way of encouraging that is through sport. For a lot of people with learning difficulties, they get excluded from sport because they may not be able to move as a quickly or think as fast.”
Frank, whose son has dyspraxia, knows the transformational power inclusive or unified sports can have. Through playing unified basketball and karate, he has seen his son develop important life skills and grow in confidence. He said: “I can’t tell you how much joy I got from watching Jasper play and watching him grow as a person, both physically and coordination-wise.”
Earlier in the week, the young people took part in ballroom dancing classes, ten-pin bowling and a tour of Luxembourg City with St George’s students getting involved at all stages.
“It’s a really good project for inclusion and getting our students involved in understanding what the difficulties are, and some of the great things that students with learning difficulties can bring […] It’s really rewarding for our students and staff,” St George’s assistant head and local project coordinator Gary Cooper told Delano.
The students will meet again in May when a group from St George’s visits Graz for a unified sports floor ball tournament and then again in September, when they visit the warmer climes of Cyprus for a few days of volleyball, beach football and possibly scuba diving.