Miss Dis­abil­ity pageant re­vived

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE Na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee of Le­sotho (NAPCOL) has joined hands with the Beauty Pageant As­so­ci­a­tion of Le­sotho (BPAL) in or­ga­niz­ing the Miss Dis­abil­ity 2016 pageant pen­ciled for 4 June 2016 at Le­hakoe Club in Maseru.

NAPCOL is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion which ad­vo­cates for the rights and par­tic­i­pa­tion of dis­abled peo­ple in sports. Ac­cord­ing to the com­mit­tee’s spokesper­son, Nte­bo­he­leng Kele, the pageant is meant to raise aware­ness about the op­er­a­tions of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and to raise funds for ath­letes par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2016 Sum­mer Par­a­lympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in Septem­ber this year.

“We have re­alised that most dis­abled peo­ple in the coun­try are not aware of our ex­is­tence and there­fore don’t know how they can par­tic­i­pate in sports,” she said dur­ing a press brief­ing held at the Le­sotho Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (LNOC) of­fices this week.

“The pageant will also help raise funds for our trip to the Par­a­lympic Games to be held in Septem­ber this year in Brazil.”

NAPCOL rep­re­sen­ta­tive in LNOC, Ma­joro Sello, chipped in say­ing the pageant was also meant to em­power women.

“Very few women par­tic­i­pate in sports, es­pe­cially those that are dis­abled. Added to that, dis­abled peo­ple are of­ten iso­lated from other peo­ple yet they are part of the com­mu­nity,’ he said.

“The pageant is our way of en­cour­ag­ing dis­abled peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and for them to see that there are a vast num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties in sports.”

For his part, BPAL pres­i­dent Tlali Tlali said 46 con­tes­tants would com­pete in three cat­e­gories.

“We are go­ing to have three clas­si­fi­ca­tions based on the con­tes­tants’ dis­abil­i­ties, with the vis­ually im­paired, deaf and phys­i­cally-dis­abled cat­e­gories. The rea­son for the divi- sion is that the con­tes­tants can­not com­pete un­der the same cat­e­gory,” he said.

“The Miss Deaf Africa rep­re­sen­ta­tives will judge the deaf cat­e­gory, while the other con­tes­tants would be judged on their pos­ture and abil­ity to an­swer ques­tions.”

Tlali said the Miss Dis­abil­ity pageant was last held in 2010 and the in­ten­tion was to make it an an­nual event. The Miss Deaf con­test, he said, would have 22 con­tes­tants, Miss Vis­ually im­paired, 12 con­tes­tants and Miss Phys­i­cally Dis­abled 12 con­tes­tants.

The event is sched­uled to start at 9am till 6pm with en­ter­tain­ment pro­vided by lo­cal acts such as Ma­jara, St­lofa and Nkesi and the Rain­bow Queens among oth­ers. Ad­mis­sion will cost M100 in­clu­sive of lunch.

The win­ner of the Miss Deaf con­test will rep­re­sent Le­sotho at the Miss Deaf Africa pageant slated for Cape Town, South Africa in Au­gust this year. Le­sotho cur­rently holds the Miss Africa ti­tle which was won by Tl­hokomelo Sabole last year.

MISS Deaf Africa 2015 tl­hokomelo Sabole.

NAPCOL pres­i­dent thabiso Rat­soane.

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