Background info Dutch program Extra Impuls Paralympics

Genesis of the program 'Extra Impulse Paralympics'

  • Total document with a background info and description of Extra Impuls best practices ( pdf)

Links to project info

Background info and results

Genisis of the fund

At the end of 2002, Mrs. Terpstra (at the time a member of the Second Chamber for the VVD) took the initiative in the Dutch parliament to argue in favour of additional financial means. She intended to use these means for the development and stimulation of sport in developing countries. For the member of government responsible for development cooperation had left less room for sport as a means in, and a goal of development cooperation. Former Olympic medal winner and top swimmer Erica Terpstra convinced a large fraction of the Second Chamber. As a result, Mrs. Van Ardenne (at the time State Secretary for Development Cooperation) decided to make one million euro available for the development of sport in the least developed countries. National Commission for international cooperation and sustainable development (NCDO) has carried out this fund.

General results of the fund

Since the summer of 2003, NCDO has requested several Dutch organisations to present project proposals. At the time, NCDO had conversations with NebasNsg and NOC*NSF, the most important Dutch umbrella organisations with regard to sport, as well. A number of sports organisations argued that the fund 'Extra Impulse Paralympics' was set up too late, which would make it more difficult to obtain good results (the request was often made if one should not focus on the Paralypmic Games pf 2008 in Beijing. NCDO hopes and thinks that EIP will definitely have an impact on Beijing.). Moreover, some feared that a focus on the Paralympic Games could lead to insufficient attention for all the other sports levels.

Partly because it was impossible to spread the available funds over a longer period, an ambitious alliance is set up with the partners. This concerns especially those partners who wished to actually contribute to the participation to and presentations during the Games in Athens with their sports projects. They were confronted with less equipped or functioning national unions, with sometimes rigid rules and wildcard systems of the International Paralympic Committee. The partnership between the Dutch League for Adapted Sports - NebasNsg -, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Respo DS-DI, which was initiated by the latter, fortunately offered new possibilities. Furthermore, the various EIP-partners were able to see eye to eye when it was useful for practical reasons.


The following organisations received subsidy of the Fund 'Extra Impulse Paralympics' in the period 2003-2004 (The execution of a few projects will continue up until 2005):

  • SPGN
  • Stichting Promotie Gehandicaptensport Nederland (Foundation Promotion of Sports for the Handicapped People The Netherlands)
  • NebasNsg, Respo DS-DI en IPC
  • Nationale Bond voor Aangepaste Sporten (NationalLeague for Adapted Sports), Recreational Sports Development and Stimulation-Disabled
  • International, International Paralympic Committee
  • Terre des Hommes
  • SCORE Europa
  • Stichting Sports Coaches Outreach Europa (Foundation Sporting Coaches Outreach Europe)
  • DIR
  • KNLTB en ITF
  • Koninklijke Nederlandse Lawn Tennisbond, International Tennis Federation (Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis League)
  • KNVB
  • Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbal Bond (Royal Dutch Soccer League)
  • Peace Flame Foundation
  • FASD
  • Foundation for African Sport Development
  • GLAM
  • God Loves Albania Ministries

Setting up projects in the least developed countries and/or in countries with which the Netherlands has a sustainable development relationship has been very successful. The emphasis here is on Africa and Asia, while two countries in the Balkan region and in two Latin American countries projects are being financed as well. Only the project of FASD focuses on countries (Sierra Leone and Liberia) that fall outside of the structural policy of the development cooperation as it is executed by the Dutch government. Because it concerns two countries that belong to the very poorest of the world and where, due to violent conflicts, additional attention for people with a disability is especially necessity, there was the incentive for the Extra Impulse Paralympics to support this project without question.

Partly due to the special effort of NebasNsg, Respo DS-DI and IPC in this area, a good representation of female athletes within the 'EIP-delegation' at the Games will be present.

The once-only financial impulse surrounding the Paralympic Games has stimulated Dutch organisations within the sectors development cooperation and sports to devote long-term attention to the position of people and athletes with a disability in developing countries. For instance, by supporting (sports) projects in developing countries and/or by informing the supporters.

Results of Extra Impulse Paralympics during the Paralympics

  • In total, thirty athletes have participated in the Paralympics through EIP. They were either not going to be considered for participation, or they would not have been able to prepare as well.
  • These athletes came from twelve different countries, with which the Netherlands has a bilateral development relationship.
  • For four countries (Surinam, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Ghana) this was their first time they participated in the Paralympics.
  • Even though thirty is not a very high number in comparison to the total of thousands of participating athletes, the athletes still left an impression: on Dutch athletes, the Dutch sports audience, and on league directors of the Dutch leagues and of the IPC.
  • The medal score of the EIP team is especially good: three medals in a team of thirty participants means that ten percent of the EIP participants won a medal.
  • Participating in the Paralympic Games also provided media attention for the athletes and for the adapted sports in the concerned countries.

It is not only the top group that profited from the available funding. For NCDO and the partners also stimulated the practising of sports by people with a disability from developing countries on the whole, that is sports in general. However, money has also been invested in the reconstruction of sports organisations for people with a disability, in the advancement of expertise for the adapted sports and in the bridging of the gap between adapted sports and sports for people without restraints.

The over thirty athletes, who have been able to participate in the Paralypmic Games in Athens thanks to 'Extra Impulse Paralympics', represent all people with a disability in developing countries who play sports or would like to play sports but are still unable to. We should not forget that the unequal division of prosperity in the world is also visible in the sports world. In order to illustrate this point, the following example: in the Netherlands we are not or barely satisfied if we win 22 medals at the Olympic Games, while India, with a population of 1 billion people, has to make do with one medal. This is why an extra impulse is needed for the adapted sports in developing countries. The athletes have also become ambassadors who can continue the fight for good and equal access to sports possibilities in their own countries.

People with a disability in many developing countries are confronted with several obstacles: besides their disability, there are cultural taboos regarding disabilities and there is a lack of facilities for people with a disability. NCDO's partners have booked appealing results within a very short period. Thanks to Extra Impulse Paralympics and its partners, Surinam, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Ghana were represented during the Paralympic Games for the first time. The participation of countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Sri Lanka received a relatively huge impulse because of the Extra Impulse Paralympics. Moreover, Extra Impulse Paralympics gave a qualitative impulse to a few participants from India and South Africa.

The results of the Extra Impulse Paralympics with regard to general sports

  • EIP has influenced about 25 countries in some way or another.
  • In various countries the expertise of coaches and trainers, of directors and administrators, and of teachers and caregivers has been improved by way of different projects. In total, approximately 150 to 200 people have been reached this way through these projects. This concerns among others: India, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Cape Verde.
  • In some countries, games are organised and competitions are set up, for instance in Ethiopia and Surinam.
  • The reconstruction of sports organisations for people with a disability and the institutional development of these organisations are stimulated, for example in Ethiopia, Albania and Bolivia.
  • People with a disability are stimulated to participate in sports, and have been perhaps given more confidence due to positive advertising in the media: many countries, in particular Ethiopia and Bosnia Herzegovina. This is being worked on in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well.
  • Children with a disability have come into contact with the adapted sports, especially in India.
  • Research and networking have led to increased knowledge on the position of handicapped sports in certain countries like Ethiopia and India.
  • Sporting materials have become available in Surinam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa, Bolivia and Ethiopia. Facilities have been improved in other ways as well in for example Albania.
  • Educational institutions in developing countries have been made aware of the importance of and the possibilities for sports for people with a disability.
  • Cooperation between Dutch organisations and developing countries has been stimulated in countries such as Ethiopia and Cameroon.

Paralympic Games and participants

Under the enormous pressure of time, five projects - Terre des Hommes, NebasNsg, Respo DS-DI and IPC, Foundation SCORE, KNVB and KNLTB and ITF - have been guided to qualification of and adequate preparation for the Paralympic Games in Athens. A group of thirty-two athletes managed to qualify - sometimes through the very last possibilities (the so-called backdoors). In this way organisational problems in the Netherlands and abroad were overcome and the demands of the IPC-system needed to be met. On top of that, there was collaboration with less dynamic national leagues.

Pieter van der Houwen

Never before shown: A gold medal winner from India

"What he did, we Have Never Done Before"

It's a commendable achievement for a 23- year old athlete to have broken his own World Record and won a Gold medal in his first participation in the Paralympic Games. Simultaneously completing his Bachelors in Arts and pursuing a Masters in Political Science is praiseworthy too, but he certainly may not be the first to do so. However, Devendra has achieved something that nobody from his country has ever achieved before. He became the first Indian ever to win an individual Gold medal in either the Olympic or the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Village Pulse spoke to him on what it feels like to be where he is right now. "I was just overjoyed to be here and grateful to my country and the National Paralympic Committee for giving me this opportunity. They had put their faith in me and I am glad that I have lived up to their expectations."Soft spoken, but exuding an ardent fervour and passion as he spoke, Devendra mentioned, "When I carried the Indian flag during the Opening Ceremony, I said to myself, 'I want to hear the Indian national anthem being played during theGames." A prophetic thought, indeed.

During 10th grade he took up this sport since he felt it would be best suited for a one-handed athlete. His rise from then on has been nothing short of meteoric. In a short span of time, he went from school athletics meetings to being the State champion, National champion, British Open Champion, Busan Asian Games champion and now Paralympic Champion, including with a world record to boot. He attributes his success to a number of people but foremost to his Mom. Besides preparing his favourite home cooked food, his mom ensures he religiously adheres to his daily routine and training regimen and also is a huge source of motivation for him.

Amar Singh, the Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent, had predicted a day before that Devendra would win a medal. "Our boys did not lack skill but I felt that they just needed to be motivated and made to believe in themselves. That is all I have been doing from the word go and thankfully it has paid dividends. Seeing him on the podium was one of the greatest moments of my life. I just could not stop crying realising that whaThe Indian contingent had a celebration in the Paralympic Village to mark Devendra's achievement and set the tone for many more felicitations to come as he heads back. Recalling his feelings that night, Devendra mentions, "I was so overwhelmed, I could not even sleep. It took some time to sink in and realise what I have done"

However, he is not content to rest on his laurels. He has his sights set firmly on the next Pacific Games and the World Championships in 2006 and then on the ultimate return: The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He exudes confidence, as he mentions, "I want the youth of my country to think that if I can do it, they all can also do it. Rest assured, India will not have to wait another 100 years for their next individual Gold medal."

From:, Paralympic Village Pulse, Issue nr. 6 Life (issue of Athens 2004)/ Text: Neelay Bhatt

Advansement of expertise

The athletes were all very happy with their participation. For many it was their first time. The most remarkable winner of the EIP-team was the Indian javelin thrower Devendra. He won India's first gold medal at an Olympic or a Paralympic event, where he even set a world record for javelin throwing. Besides that, the athletes managed to win two bronze medals; one for power lifting and one for athletics.

It is not only the group top athletes that have profited from the available fund. NCDO and the partners have also invested in the stimulation of the practising of sports by people with a disability from developing countries in general, that is in general sports, as well as in the reconstruction of sports organisations for people with disability, in the advancement of expertise concerning adapted sports and in the bridging of the gap between the adapted sports and the sport for people with no restrictions.