• ENGSO Youth

Facing Covid-19 | Young Delegate Dillon & World Para Powerlifting

Young Delegate, Dillon is a sport management professional working at World Para Powerlifting, the international sport federation for powerlifting for people with a disability, as their Performance and Development Manager.

Growing up in Canada, Dillon played basketball and baseball, and saw first-hand the power of sport to bring people from different backgrounds together.

Leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Dillon and his colleagues were preparing for the final qualification competitions, but the COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the sports sector overnight – events at all levels were cancelled, gym facilities became closed, athletes’ outlets to train gone.

As the people around the world were tasked with staying home, Dillon and his team got creative and formulated plans to keep the Para powerlifting community active:

1) Creation of an online competition series: To keep athletes across the globe motivated, World Para Powerlifting created an online competition series in which they had athletes filming themselves lifting weights from the safety and security of their own homes.

2) Community-sourcing of continued professional development resources: Using their worldwide network of athletes, coaches and administrators, World Para Powerlifting compiled and shared over 100 free resources in multiple languages to support the ongoing education of their stakeholders. Topics included “Remote coaching during in a pandemic” to “Disruption by COVID-19: Mental wellbeing in high-performance sport”.

3) Live premiere of a documentary focused on an athlete: To bring together the community and Para powerlifting fans, FUERZA, a documentary focused on the life of Spanish 3-time Paralympian, Loida Zapala, was premiered on the federation’s Facebook page. The documentary was awarded Best Film Shot in Madrid at the IX Collado Villalba International Film Festival on Disability in 2018.

4) Educational courses transitioned to an eLearning platform: To continue to grow the sport across the worldwide, World Para Powerlifting’s educational courses were transitioned from face-to-face delivery to an eLearning platform, where participants from Peru all the way to Ghana earned their certification.

5) Launch of a Referee Learning Hub: To ensure the international level referees were staying up to date and involved, World Para Powerlifting launched a Referee Learning Hub, a mobile and web-based learning portal where referees across the globe participate in quizzes, discussions and other educational activities.

“While these times have caused challenges and changes in all our daily lives, it’s also presented the opportunity to innovate,” said Dillon.

“People of all ages are being creative, embracing technology to be social with their friends and family, practising mindfulness through different applications and activities, and getting active, following workout videos on different applications and getting outside walking, running and cycling!”

“As the world slowly restarts restoring different activities, hopefully these trends can continue for the better and we’ll all be happier, healthier and kinder!”