One of Costa Rica’s biggest sporting events has featured a Para athlete in the Opening Ceremony for the first time. The country’s only female Paralympian, Camila Haase, lit the competition cauldron for Costa Rica’s National Sport Games, on 30 June.
“This is an honour and a motivation for all athletes with impairment because it is a recognition of our achievements, discipline and effort. This recognition motivates us to continue representing our country and raising the flag higher.”
The 18-year-old swimmer made her Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, making it into the final of the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8.
Only able-bodied athletes have been able to compete at the National Sport Games so far, but the organisers are expecting to add Para sports to the programme for the first time in 2019. Athletics,sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball are the sports to be included.
Sports Minister Hernan Solano Venegas said: “Camila Haase’s designation [to light the cauldron] represents the public policies that the Government wants to promote across all fields, focusing on gender equality and inclusion within a society that integrates everyone.”