Study aim: To evaluate the process of preparing Polish athletes with disabilities for the 2008 Beijing Summer Paralympic Games.
Material and methods: The study included 31 women and 58 men representing 11 Paralympic disciplines, accounting for 97.8% of the Polish team taking part in the games. The average age was 32 years; the average amount of experience with sports training, 12 years. The method of diagnostic survey applied in the study was a questionnaire by J. Kłodecka-Różalska that was adapted to the needs of athletes with disabilities. The interpretation of the results was based on the arithmetic mean of individual evaluations. After checking the confidence interval, the factors were classified into one of three categories of conditions: satisfactory, sufficient, or unsatisfactory.
Results: Data analysis revealed different levels of care and conditions created for the Polish national team during their preparations for the Beijing Paralympic Games. The athletes were fully satisfied with the conditions of the central camps and consultation (food, accommodation, sports equipment) and social relations (atmosphere of cooperation between the athletes and cooperation between the athletes and national team coaches of various disciplines). Issues requiring more professional attention are the health of athletes nominated to participate in the Paralympic Games (medical care and individual orthopaedic equipment) and contact with the media, which shapes the image of sport of the disabled people.
Conclusions: In preparation for Paralympic Games, these athletes need to be provided with the constant and highlevel assistance of a psychologist and a nutritionist. In the perspective of future athletic goals set for the representatives of our country, a high standard of sports facilities, individual sports equipment, transport to the central camps and consultation, as well as professional care in the field of wellness, physiotherapy and massage, should be taken into account for Paralympic Game preparations.
Coaching Association of Canada (2005) Stages coaches may go through when working for the first time with an athlete with a disability. In: Coaching Athletes with a Disability. Investors Group, Canada, pp. 4-6.
DePauw K. P., S. J. Gavron (2005) Disability Sport. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign IL.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.