Can Some Disabled groups Discriminate against Other Disabled groups ? — Scope | Disability forum
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Can Some Disabled groups Discriminate against Other Disabled groups ?

Gordonmrln Member Posts: 35 Courageous
Can some Disabled Groups Discriminate against other Disabled Groups? I suppose that you might look at this question and think has he lost the plot. But before I go into this topic just sit and pause for a moment and think about the questions been asked. Can you think of any reason at all when somebody who is Disabled can Discriminate against another Disabled person. I know, when I first came across the situation that I'm going to put before you I thought to myself this can't be right or be happening ! but it is. So, any ideas how this can happen, no, well I'll try to make it clear for you, firstly I'll give you a clue to the area that it is involved, Sport?. Sport you say, you must be off your trolly, anyone who is Disabled in sport treat all other fellow Disabled sport players in the say way as they expect them to be treated. And yes you are correct to a point. And that point is when we try to reach the highest point we can achieve in our sporting prowess.
The Paralympics, now again I can hear your jaws banging on the floor, and I would again have agreed with you on this point. However, after recently taking up the sport of shooting, and in particular target shooting. I joined a local club who had, not only good disabled facilities. But also had a coach who had previously dealt with Disabled shooters before, so I was going to be starting on the right path. Anyway after joining my club and becoming severely bitten by the shooting bug, I was hooked. And my coach could see my eagerness to achieve better shooting abilities. He asked what I wanted to achieve out of my shooting, and I replied I want to enter competitions and win. Then jokingly I said I wouldn't mind been a paralympian shooter, and he said that if I train hard enough then he couldn't see why I could not apply. So after some discussion, I decided that I would have a crack at applying to be placed on the Paralympian pathway. And so I contacted various different organisations, like the Disabled Shooting Project, and Disability Shooting GB, also British Shooting and finally the IPC (International Paralympic Committee). All of whom were very helpful, but it was the last group I contacted that would be the one I really needed to be dealing with. And after emailing several people I was finally pointed in the direction of the person in charge of assessing Disabled shooters for the correct category in which they would be shooting under. Once they had their classification card, this is the card that officially tell the shooting judges what Disabled group you fall under.
Thank You One and all.
Now this is where things start to become more complicated, but clear for my story. I was sent a number of forms that I needed my own Doctor to fill out about my conditions, before I am asked to attend a medical assessment at Stoke Mandeville, the head centre for all Disabled athletes regardless of your sport. So I read through the forms and took them to my own GP to fill in for me. While I waited for surgery to tell me I could collect my forms, I started to do some research about the assessment procedure. And I was shocked and very surprised to read, that in order to qualify to become a Paralympian Shooter, you need to fall under, 1 of 10 types of Disabilities. Any one of the listed conditions and you could apply for assessment, this did not mean you would automatically be accepted as a Paralympian Shooter. And if your Disability did not fall under the list then you could not apply.  
After I got my forms back from my GP, I sent them into the IPC headquarters at Stoke Mandeville, and there I would have to wait to hear back from them. However, I had my concerns about my conditions, yes I had a number of Disabilities and it was not going to be as easy as I was led to believe. I contacted my coach and asked him about my conditions, where he informed me that any Chronic pain condition was not acceptable as a condition under the IPC rules for inclusion in the Paralympic Squad. So, if you had a certain type of Disabilities these Disabilities excluded you from been included as a Paralympian Shooter. So, basically even if you were Disabled you did not qualify to become a Team GB Disabled Shooter, and part of the Olympian Squad. I felt let down and dejected after building up my hopes, but my coach said don't worry you have other conditions that could be counted as part of your qualifying conditions. But I was not going to get my hopes up, after all 2 of my main conditions that meant I needed the use of a wheelchair for my mobility. The first of my Conditions was Neuropathic Pain Syndrome, which is nerve damage which I had in my left knee after I had a fall, the other main condition I had was OsteoArthritis, this was widespread in all my major joints, both knees, both hips, both shoulders, both elbows, I had it also in my Ankles and the lower part of my spine. I also suffered with Spondylitis in my neck, plus a number of other conditions, but these ones were the ones that restricted my movements. Meaning I needed to be seated in my wheelchair to shoot, and I also needed the use of what Disabled shooters call the "Spring" It's a Shooting aid to help take the weight off holding the Target Rifle, it is better known as the Belgian Spring. 
So, there it was in clear print, unless you had one of the listed Disabilities named by the IPC, then you could not apply to shoot as a Disabled shooter in the Paralympics. So, I my view and opinion one set of Disabled shooters was placed at a Disadvantage against another Disabled set of shooters. And to me this is where the Discrimination comes into play, one set of Disabled Athletes is been Discriminated against because their Disability does not qualify them to become a member of the Disabled shooting team in Team GB. 
So how can it be allowed in this day and age when we try to promote fairness and equality for one and all, that we can discriminate those that are already at a disadvantage by the very fact that they are Disabled. But never mind that they are regarded Disabled, sadly they are not Disabled enough, this therefore exempts them from been accepted as a Disabled shooter under the IPC rules and regulations for acceptance as a Disabled shooter. Although, you can shoot as a Disabled shooter under the NSRA (National Small-bore Rifle Association) rules and regs, once you have applied for a Certificate of Dispensation. Which is awarded to Disabled shooters with photo evidence of how you shoot normally at your club, this photographic proof has to be accompanied with a letter explaining your Disability and why you need to shoot as you do using the items you use when you shoot. And that is it, so I'm in the process of getting my certificate of Dispensation. Which will allow me entry into any competition run or backed by the NSRA, nationally. Also I am a member of the STS which is the (Scottish Target Shooting) this allows me to shoot in competitions in Scotland, which is where I Live. So I hope I have given you food for thought, and if anyone out there wishes to explain my concern regarding the issue I have raised regarding the including and excluding of Different Disabled shooters in the world of Paralympic Sports, then I would be glad to hear from you and your thoughts on the topic I have raised. I do feel very strongly about this issue that is close to my heart, and I intend to raise the issue with the IPC and the ISSF ( International Shooting Sport Federation) Who are the Governing body of the World Shooting Championships. I would like to hear from you so please do get back in touch and drop me a line giving me your thoughts and opinions on my topic.     


  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,793 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for sharing this @Gordonmrln, and I'm so sorry to hear about your experiences. It must have been (and still be) so frustrating for you. I'm sure there are others who've had similar experiences themselves- I vividly remember reading about a swimmer with EDS being excluded due to classification too.
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Hello @Gordonmrln .

    I have first-hand experience of the sport although I am too physically weak to compete seriously. Instead I occasionally join in with the non-disabled local competitions.
    If you think about it, it is necessary to group (classify) competitors into similar types. Would you have people with no arms compete with people with no legs for instance?
    So if grouping is unavoidable, how many groups would you have? To include everyone would require an infinite number of groups including many with just one competitor in them.
    The only 100% inclusive option would be to make it like the Special Olympics where it's only the taking part that counts.
    I'm afraid I have no time for the Paralympics as often the competitors were elite athletes/servicemen anyway until an injury befell them.
    At a local level, shooting is an inclusive and accessible sport and my county's police licensing department has been very understanding indeed. I can thoroughly recommend it as a hobby/sport for the disabled.
  • Gordonmrln
    Gordonmrln Member Posts: 35 Courageous

    Dear Markmywords, I understand what you are saying and I agree to a point, but what I was trying to point out is that not all Disabled people have the right to apply to be a paralympic shooter/athlete, if they want to be one. The choice is not there for them from the start, if you compare like for like with able bodied persons who might be interested in shooting for their country. Then they can just pick up a gun and go, and if they show enough aptitude in their scores, then they will be picked to go on the Team GB pathway. Now a Disabled person in the same set of circumstances with the exact same skills and scores, can go no further in their dream of representing their country as they don't have one of the ten listed Disabled selection conditions, to allow them to compete. So that's it your dreams and aspirations are ended. I asked my club coach who has Disabled coaching skills and has coached Disabled shooters in the past, as a Disabled shooter could I ever hold a world record, to which he replied "No" You can of course beat the current record, you could do it in a local club competition and even have it witnessed. But because you are not registered with the IPC or the IOC as a registered shooter who has been assessed and given a special code allowing you to compete at international competitions, then your score means nothing even if you beat the current world record it means nothing. So that's why the current system is unfair and Discriminatory against other Disabled persons. Did you know that Sir Steve Redgrave is Disabled, and had he decided 30 years ago when he was Diagnosed with his condition to compete as a Disabled athlete in the Paralympics then he would not have been accepted based on his Disability and would not have passed the selection process. So our 7 Gold medal Olympic and world champion would not have happened if he was to compete solely as a Disabled competitor. Can you see what this country and the world in a whole would have missed out on. Instead Steve decided to put his condition to one side, and compete as a normal sportsperson, lucky though his condition did not hinder his ability to partake, his condition was not one of a physical Disability more a condition Disability. He has Diabetes so as long as he's on his medication and his condition is under control then he can compete at the level of normal athletes. This is why the system is wrong. 

    As I have trained and taken the time and effort to get to the point where my skill level is on a par with Able bodied shooters of equal skills, then I think I deserve the right to be allowed to be assessed as a possible, Paralympic Athlete and represent my country. My coach says I have the ability, yet I'm not Disabled enough to apply to compete. I am trying to bring around change I'm launching a Campaign to get the sports bodies in charge of the rulemaking to make more of an equal playing field for all Disabled  people that wish to enter into sport in general. I believe that the current rules are outdated, unfair, and biased, against Disabled people. It's so bad that in Scotland where I live, the Scottish sports federation or Sports Committee In charge of all the sports in Scotland has no National Disabled team, in fact they have no Disabled shooting squad of any kind, at the moment my coach says I'm the only current Disabled Shooter who is trying to get some recognition as a Disabled shooter for Scotland. This is something that I want to bring around a change to, and make it possible for Disabled shooters to have some recognition and to be included at all levels of sporting achievements. So this is why I feel the Disabled in the Sporting world are been Discriminated against and it needs to change now.  

    Thank you and please keep a look out for my Campaign on this website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Any support or help you can give would be very Grateful.


  • cracker
    cracker Member Posts: 324 Pioneering
    You are doing something very important for all people with disability.

    I can mention another type of discrimination within the Disability community. Those with mental illness are often excluded and looked down upon by those with only physical impairment.

    I believe this is slowly starting to change. More education and understanding is needed between the two groups (of course these issues overlap)
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering

    Rather than just criticising, why not come up with a new system that allows meaningful like-for-like competition yet includes every single variation of disability?
    You seem to believe that it's just people's bloody-mindedness that's the problem and you are refusing to deal with the realities.

    Also you are focussed solely on yourself rather than the disabled as a whole. Most mental illnesses will preclude a person even from holding a Firearms Certificate. This "is not fair" either but it still must exist for public safety.


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