Charity sports project Laureus MetroSports demonstrates their work bringing disabled and non-disabled children together in Switzerland.
May, 28 - 2013
Jens loves the audience – and the audience loves him.
He stands, hands bound in boxing gloves, head wrapped in a protective red helmet, in the market place at Lucerne, Switzerland. A special ring has been set up for an exhibition boxing fight of the charity sport project “Laureus MetroSports by Blindspot”.
But fighting is not Jens’ concern right now. This young boy is more interested in waving to the crowds than engaging his opponent. That is, until he goes over to give him a hug before the adoring crowd.
The motto of this Swiss Laureus sports project is “together not against each other.” Reflecting this philosophy, the project offers integrative sports activities for children and young people with and without disabilities.
The project is currently touring throughout Switzerland. And, having reached Lucerne, the project is demonstrating some of the things they offer including: breakdancing, fencing, boxing, beatboxing and even parkour.
After a three-hour free workshop, the respective groups perform what they have learned together on the square in front of Lucerne - and show how quickly fear of contact and prejudice can be overcome. Integration rather than separation stands at the heart of the project. An approach made particularly important because in these are not sports often in Switzerland, which brings together young people with and without disabilities.
With Jens in Lucerne is Nora. The 16-year-old has a speech impairment and is at the workshop for a third time.
For them, participation in the project is a particular challenge.
Nora says: "A lot of new people at once intimidates me and puts me under pressure. Sometimes I do not speak for three days afterwards. But I know that I need to change this. Therefore, I make the courage to go over to people and talk to them."
Watching her today it becomes clear she is successful. Nora laughs with her sparring partner Lisa over failed techniques and is happy to be with a new-found friend.
Simon, 14 years old and one of the participants without a handicap, is also enthusiastic about the project: "I'm always happy at the workshops. It is mega cool and is particularly beautiful that I’ve countered other kinds of young people I never would have otherwise."
Young people like Jens, for example, who has an intellectual disability himself. He jumps enthusiastically in the boxing ring and stretches his arms in the air. He may not have won on points, but he certainly won over the hearts of the audience.