The 8th World Dwarf Games are set to begin in Germany this weekend, bringing together short-statured athletes from around the world to participate in a variety of sports. A team of five athletes from Aotearoa (New Zealand) will be taking part in the event.
One of the participants, Zena Sargison, emphasized the importance of having international events like the World Dwarf Games where athletes of similar stature can compete on a level playing field. She and her sister Ella are looking forward to competing in various sports, with Ella particularly focused on badminton.
The World Dwarf Games also hold non-sporting events to promote understanding and raise awareness. Participants have the opportunity to connect with elite athletes with dwarfism, including those who have competed in international competitions like the Paralympics.
While Zena Sargison acknowledged that she has not faced direct discrimination in sports, she highlighted that attitudes toward short-statured athletes can sometimes be disappointing. She hopes that society will evolve to move away from the comical view of short stature as a disability.
For Auckland’s Amy Dunn, the Games offer a chance to compete in various sports like badminton, powerlifting, shot put, and more. She believes in the importance of making sports inclusive and accessible for everyone, regardless of their stature.
Participants at the World Dwarf Games not only aim for podium finishes but also cherish the opportunity to connect with others and build lifelong friendships. The event not only promotes sporting achievements but also fosters a sense of belonging and well-being among short-statured individuals.