Sports activities for Persons with Disabilities in SG

2024 is a leap year, and we all know what that means: it’s time once again for the Olympics. Paris is set to host the Summer Olympics this July, but it isn’t the only big sporting event of the year, mind you. The Paralympics will also be kicking off in August, and the world will be watching to cheer on the boundary-defying paralympians.

Whether you’re a Person with Disabilities (PwD) yourself, feeling inspired by the medal-clinching Paralympians, or are looking for ways to fulfil those #fitspo New Year’s resolutions, here are some PwD-friendly and inclusive sports activities that help all Singaporeans keep fit.

1. Set sail in “uncapsizable boats”

Person With Disabilities - sailing
Image credit: Singapore Disability Sports Council

If you find yourself drawn to the calm of the ocean waves, sailing’s an option. Available as a solo, pair, or trio sport, the boats sport special features that distinguish them from typical racing sailboats.

For example, they are designed to be unsinkable even when their hulls are holed or decks are swamped. Translation for those who aren’t privy to sailing jargon: you won’t terbalek and fall into the water. Their cockpits also have special seats which allow for PwDs to be strapped in for safety.

2. Test your sense of hearing with goalball

Person With Disabilities - goalball
Image adapted from: Goalball Singapore via Facebook

Unlike most sporting matches, which feature rowdy spectators, Goalball matches are usually silent. That’s because all players, disabled or otherwise, wear opaque goggles and can only rely on their hearing to locate the ball.

How, you may ask? The balls have a little bell inside, prompting players to follow the jingle. Not only is this a physical exercise, it also trains players to heighten certain senses like never before. 

3. Chill-paced lawn bowling

Person With Disabilities - lawn bowling
Image credit: International Athletic

With its light physical demands and easy pace, Lawn Bowling is an attractive option for those looking for an inclusive sport. Competing either individually or in teams of 4, players aim to roll an asymmetrically weighted ball as close as possible to the target across a manicured lawn. 

PwD participants have a variety of aids to ensure an even playing field. Examples include ball lifters and bowling arms designed to aid players in wheelchairs when it comes to lifting and rolling the ball, while those with visual impairments can enlist a guide to help them in aiming.

4. PWD-friendly ActiveSG gym equipment & pools

Person With Disabilities - ActiveSG gym
4x paralympian Theresa Goh at the Enabling Village ActiveSG Gym.
Image credit: @wheelie_wonka via Instagram

If building dem gains is your kind of thing, you’ll be glad to know that SportSG is currently working on making all 27 ActiveSG gyms inclusive by 2026. In the meantime, 5 of them already feature specialised PwD-friendly machines. 

Unlike conventional machines which use weights to create resistance, the ones used at inclusive gyms use compressed air instead. This helps to prevent injuries caused by sudden movements. Other features which set these machines apart include removable seats to cater to wheelchair users.

Person With Disabilities - ActiveSG swimming pool
Sengkang Swimming Complex’s sheltered pool. Spot the ramp on the left.
Image credit: William Lu via Google Maps

Whether you’re looking for something easy on the joints or just want to splash around to destress while getting some cardio in, you can consider paying ActiveSG Swimming Complexes a visit.

Amongst the 25 located across the island, 5 of them – namely the Bedok, Jurong Lake Gardens, Jurong West, Sengkang, Tampines, and Pasir Ris – are designated inclusive swimming pools. These have special wheelchair ramps leading into the pools.

5. SG’s biggest inclusive sports competition

Person With Disabilities - wheelchair badminton
Image credit: Aspire Badminton Centre via Facebook

Play Inclusive is the largest unified sports competition in Singapore, called. Held every year since 2018, the event pairs athletes with intellectual disabilities with athletes without disabilities, who then go on to compete in a number of sports such as badminton and boccia. The latter is a type of precision ball-rolling sport adapted from bocce or bowls.

Learn more about sports activities for PwDs in Singapore

Whether you’re looking to spend a leisurely afternoon lawn bowling or conquer the high seas, there are plenty of activities and sporting initiatives in Singapore for PwDs to choose from. Some of these are inclusive too, so you can join in the fun together with your able-bodied friends.

Person With Disabilities - wheelchair basketball
Image credit: Sport Singapore

If you’re looking for regular, structured training to learn a sport, the ActiveSG Para Sport Academy is a great way to start. Sports offered here include wheelchair basketball and wheelchair bowling.

With so many initiatives and associations around dedicated to creating fitness opportunities for our PwD pals and loved ones, you might very well discover a few new fitspo passions this year.

Find out more about sports activities for PwDs in Singapore

This post was brought to you by the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth.
Cover image adapted from: Goalball Singapore via Facebook, International Athletic, William Lu via Google Maps

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