The Paralympian Magazine

The Paralympian Issue No. 2 | 2014

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ISSUE OF THE SEASON ISSUE OF THE SEASON 35 THE PARALYMPIAN 02|2014 34 THE PARALYMPIAN 02|2014 Veronika Vadovicova Focus on classifi cation, not gender It is generally known that the genetic disposition of women is diff erent from that of men, and that is why it is not correct to group women with men in the same sport. In shooting, it would be better for women to have individual and separate events. It would be a greater motivator, especially for female shooters at the beginning stages, who would know they do not have to give the same performance as their male competitiors. However, shooting is a sport in which women do not fall behind men in mixed events. Across the po- dium, women are equal to men, which has positively infl uenced our self- confi dence and fastens our lead- ing position in this sport. I can see disadvantages in the sport by not having mixed gender events, but what we must focus our ef- forts on is working to advace the sport's classifi cation system before looking at mixed gender events. With all of this said, though, I must say I do appreciate the increasing quota places for women on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme. There will be better opportunities for elite-level female shooters to compete with each other and take part in this magnifi cent occasion that connects the whole world and has such an important historical tradition. Matt Skelhon Media coverage can increase female participation result in more females taking up the sport and even- tually lead to shooting at the Paralympic Games hav- ing equal representation of male and female athletes. To me, it doesn't matter if I'm competing against a male or female competitor. It's about being the best. I can imagine this is also one of the attractions for female shooters, as they get to prove they are the best by winning against men as well as women. Shooting compared to other para-sports has little media coverage, so promoting the success of all ath- letes – whether male or female – through a variety of media sources locally, national and internationally would help to raise the profi le of shooting in general and attract more female athletes. Sports such as athletics, swimming and cycling get a lot of air time and media coverage. Furthermore, female athletes in those sports such as Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storey are now household names in Great Britain and worldwide. In shooting, the success of female athletes such as Veronica Vadovicova and Natasha Hiltrop in mixed events at the IPC Shooting European Champion- ships and IPC Shooting World Cups has shown that men and women can compete together. The British team is roughly 50/50 in terms of men and women, and there is a good camaraderie and compet- itiveness between us all. Shooting is more about technical and psychological challenges and the ability to hold your nerve under pressure, whereas many of the other para-sports such as cycling and athletics need separate male and fe- male events due to the physical aspects of the sport. As shooting does not yet receive suffi cient promotion, I would like to see more TV coverage and press attention, so the world knows about our sport. Promoting shooting as a sport for all, regardless of gender, will then likely 2014 IPC SHOOTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Follow the sport's biggest event of the year from 17-26 July in Suhl, Germany. @ IPCShooting /IPCShooting web web >> al V F It t w t a ISSUE What are the best ways to continue to elevate female participation in para-sport, and is it fair to have mixed gender events? Background The Rio 2016 Paralympics will fea- ture more female athletes than ever before, and in shooting there will be a 25 per cent increase in quota places for women. Given that out of the 12 Paralympic shooting events, three are male, three are female and six are mixed events, many are eager to see how the increase in the female quota will play out, especially in the mixed gender events. n, not gender o r p on result in more females taking up the spo t t ll l as little all ath- riety of onally neral get re, ah w . nd et- I S S S U E E O O F T H E A S N ISSUE

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