The Maltese ambassador, Vladyslava Kravchenko joined the Paralympic team Malta in January 2013 with the aim of competing at the next Paralympic Games in Rio 2016

Sunday, June 7, 2015, 18:22

In August 2014, the European Paralympic Committee (EPC) launched an innovative project en-titled Youth Ambassadors for Europe (YAMBA) which was to see 8 young people aged 18-23 from throughout the European region become ParaSports promoters.

Funded by the Agitos Foundation Grant Support Programme 2014, the project is focused on developing EPC Youth Ambassadors for the Paralympic Movement in Europe who will have the skills to become leaders and to promote the Paralympic movement amongst their peer group.

The project is a result of the EPC’s continued commitment to increasing participation in adapted sports across Europe with an emphasis on the involvement of young people in this process. The EPC has made it a clear objective to focus on youth sport development and sees the engagement of young people in this action as an essential communication and engage-ment tool.

EPC President John Petersson said “The YAMBA project will establish and develop a relation-ship between the EPC and young people from all European regions, not only engaging them in the Paralympic Movement but also giving them a voice in how it progresses, whilst equipping them with the skills and competencies required to become the leaders of tomorrow”.

After an extremely competitive recruitment and selection process the EPC is delighted to in-troduce the candidates for 2015, which will serve as Youth Ambassadors for the next three years.

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The Northern region of Europe will be represented by Guðmundur Hákon Hermannsson, a para-swimmer from Iceland and Amanda Kotaja, a Finish athlete, who competed in wheel-chair racing in London 2012.

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The Southern part of Europe has been entrusted to a Spanish wheelchair tennis player and a Paralympian, Daniel Caverzaschi, as well as a Maltese para-swimmer and an activist for adapted sports, Vladyslava Kravchenko.

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Furthermore, the EPC appointed a paratriathlete from Hungary, Zsofia Eva Lengyel along with a three time Paralympian in Alpine Skiing, Gal Jakič to serve as Ambassadors in Eastern Euro-pean countries.

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Finally, the Western region will be represented by Colette Martin, a wheelchair racer from the United Kingdom and Jonas Kowalski, a member of the German National Paralympic Commit-tee’s Junior team.

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EPC YOUTH AMBASSADORS FOR EUROPE PROJECT

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Apart from being involved in the Paralympic movement, the Ambassadors together make a young, ambitious and talented team, which is underpinned by knowledge and study in areas such as financial management and accounting, philosophy and economics, financial engineer-ing, kinesiology, sport studies, psychology, media and public relations. While most of the Am-bassadors are current university students or full time athletes, some have already gained working experience by serving as a General Secretary of their local National Paralympic Com-mittee or being part of the Big Four audit firms.

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After the training week, which was held between 23rd and 29th March 2015 at the EPC head-quarters in Vienna, Austria, the Ambassadors, under the auspices of the EPC, will complete promotional and awareness raising tasks with the objective of alerting more young people to the sporting opportunities available to them, the work of the EPC in Europe and the possibili-ties of becoming involved in the Paralympic Movement in Europe.

All of the ambassadors have personally experienced how the power of sport has enriched their lives and wish to share this positive experience with the community. In addition, one of the aims of the ambassadors is to bring a spotlight on the unconquerable spirit of Paralympic ath-letes, who overcome great adversities to inspire and excite the world! Amongst others, their objectives are to encourage youngsters to win over their challenges whether mental or physi-cal and to stress how effective sport is in helping to develop one’s sense of purpose and gain confidence in one’s abilities.

The Maltese ambassador, Vladyslava Kravchenko joined the Paralympic team Malta in January 2013 with the aim of competing at the next Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. In 2014, after fol-lowing a very challenging training schedule, which was combined with her full time employ-ment at PricewaterhouseCoopers and ACCA examinations, she achieved a Minimum Qualifying Standard time, which allowed her to participate in the European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven that were organised by the International Paralympic Committee in August 2014.

In 2015 Vladyslava has been awarded a certificate of recognition by Kunsill Malti Ghall-Isport (KMS) and selected for the Flexi training scheme programme, which will allow her to dedicate more strength and time to training for the upcoming swimming competitions. She swims with the national para-swimming team, which has been established under the auspices of the Aquatic Sports Association (ASA) of Malta and lead by the national coach Isabelle Zarb, B.Ed (Hons), PGDEAM, M.Sc Sport Coaching (Lboro), Level 3 Swim Coach (ASA UK).

All of these sports ventures would not have been possible for Vladyslava, without the great support from entities such as the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, Maltese Par-liamentary Secretariat for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, KMS, Malta Paralympic Committee, ASA of Malta, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SwimAid foundation, YUE Malta – Healthi-er Living, Kinetika Fitness Centre and Arena Swim Shop Malta. In the meantime, the growing team is looking forward to welcoming new athletes and establishing new corporate partners and supporters of this project.

Further information on the project and the upcoming activities will be available soon on the

ASA website www.asaofmalta.org and EPC website www.europaralympic.org





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