Meet the Turkish Superhumans
The Turkish men’s wheelchair basketball team took part in the Paralympics for the first time in London, finishing the tournament in seventh place. Photo by Delizia FlaccaventoFor the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the 2012 London Paralympics were broadcast live by Channel 4, and the event was advertised in the U.K. media with a campaign introducing the athletes as “The Superhumans.”
The result of such an unprecedented effort to support athletes with disabilities as elite athletes in their own right was the first sold-out Paralympics, with 2.7 million tickets sold, and a 10 percent share for Channel 4, up 52 percent against the previous average.
In Turkey, unfortunately, sport for people with disabilities gets very limited funding and virtually no coverage in the media, and it still depends on the tireless efforts of a very few people of good will rather than a system at work.
In a country with 8 million people with disabilities, a much stronger system is necessary to make sport a key tool for social inclusion and to change the mentality about what people with disabilities can do and achieve. Investing the necessary resources to make the country more friendly for people with disabilities is not only a civil duty but also an excellent economic investment, which would aid in relieving the burden of family care and fight the social stigma disability still carries, with long-lasting positive effects on the lives of the millions people affected, directly or indirectly, by disability.