Information about physical fitness in disabled athletes has become an important topic to sport scientists and researchers. Such information has implication for sport personnel and policy makers. Individuals with disabilities form an important part of the society, they must not be excluded from any form of physical fitness programs, regardless of their limitations, they have right to a lifestyle of health and physical fitness (1). The aim of this study was to describe the selected physical fitness of disabled youth and young adults athletes in the North West Province of South Africa, and compare with the reference data
A total of 62 disabled athletes (41 males and 21 females) participated in the study. A randomly sample was drawn from the disabled athletes who participated in a provincial athletic competition in the North West Province of South Africa. Physical fitness of shuttle run, standing long jump, sit and reach and sit ups were assessed by the protocols recommended by Eurofit (2) and compared with the mild disabled American (3).
In general the results showed a significant (p < 0.05) sex differences in shuttle run, standing broad jump and sit-ups. A significant difference was found in sit-ups, sit and reach, shuttle run and standing broad jump for age 15, 16, 17 and 20 respectively. Older disabled athletes boys jump better than girls. Furthermore they are more flexible and also have more agility speed than girls. When compared with the reference data the present results on average were below the 75 percentiles of the reference norm standard.
It is concluded that sex differences exists in physical fitness of the disabled athletes. Furthermore, the Potchefstroom disabled athletes are below the norm standard. Further studies taking into account of larger numbers of subjects and genetic factors are required to elucidate the findings of this study.
Acknowledgement: The North West disabled athletes, coaches, directors and research assistants are acknowledged for their support in this study.
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. Eurofit. (1988).European Test Of Physical Fitness. Council Of European, Committee For Development Of Sport, Rome.
. Eichstaedt C.B.And B.W. Lavay. (1988). Physical Activity For Individuals With Mental Retardation Infancy Through Adulthood