Thousands will run for and with children
Kinabalu, 15 March 2017 – Today the organising committee of the Borneo
International Marathon, Kinabalu Running Club, and UNICEF joined forces to
launch this year’s marathon with a new rallying theme: #thisability.
Through their partnership in the biggest
running and tourism event in Borneo, Kinabalu Running Club and UNICEF aim to
support the right of all children to play, recreation and sport; raise
awareness and address stigma and discrimination faced by children with
disabilities; and provide inclusive opportunities for children with and without
disabilities to engage with each other, learn to live together and respect one
As the Borneo International Marathon is
turning ten this year, between 8,000 and 10,000 participants from Malaysia and
across the globe will run for and with children with disability in Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah on May 7, 2017.
“This year we are working to promote inclusion of
children with disabilities and to enable them to realise their full potential.
We want to create opportunities and encourage them to learn and participate in
all our activities”, said Datuk Dr Heng Aik Cheng, President of Kinabalu
Running Club and Race Director of the Borneo International Marathon. “Bringing
together persons with and without disabilities in the marathon will give them
the pride and dignity in our community and will also contribute to make our
society more inclusive”.
In presence of Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj
Aman, Chief Minister of Sabah, the launch event involved children with and
without disabilities, representatives from civil society organisations, State
officials and journalists. Several government agencies will be part of this
edition of the Borneo International Marathon, including Sabah Tourism Board,
Sabah Youth and Sports Ministry, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Royal Malaysian
Police, Sabah Health Department and Sabah Education Department.
“As we know sport is a health activity – good
for body and soul. And it is also a great equalizer as it draws people
together, crosses socio-economic, and geographic boundaries and has the power
to unite all different kinds of people for fun, play and goals”, said Marianne
Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia. “Children with disability
often face stigma and discrimination. Through sports, we want to dispel our own
fears and biased views to build a more inclusive environment for children with
disabilities. Everywhere in the world, it takes time to challenge negative
attitudes and practices towards children with disabilities. It’s a marathon,
not a sprint and we need to stay the course to break down these barriers”.
a gesture of commitment, the Kinabalu Running Club, has waived the registration
fee for persons with disabilities. The money raised during the Borneo
International Marathon will be donated to local non-profit organisations that
work to improve the lives of disadvantage groups including children with
disabilities in Sabah.
A study commissioned by UNICEF last year
in four different States across Malaysia including Sabah, on knowledge,
attitudes and practices (KAP) has shown that there is still limited knowledge
about the actual causes of disability and that stigma and discrimination is
real at different levels for children, parents and families of children with
· 58.4% of people surveyed
reported being under-informed about children with disabilities.
· Stigma, discrimination,
isolation and marginalisation operated on many levels for children with
disabilities, their parents, families and friends.
· Participants projected
greater negativity and stigma towards children with behavioural, mental and
intellectual disabilities than towards children with physical or sensory disabilities.
· 43.1% of respondents
thought it was disruptive for children to be in school with children with disabilities.
· Children and adolescents
with disabilities felt sadness, loneliness, embarrassment and anger
· when they were excluded
About the Borneo
The first marathon in Sabah was held
in 1984 and it was called the Daily Express Sabah Marathon. The next marathon
was held 23 years later in 2008 and was called the Borneo International
Marathon (BIM). The BIM is organized by Kinabalu Running Club, registered under
registration of sports association (ROSA) under the Sports Commission.
To register: http://borneomarathon.com/
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