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Paralympic, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

 We are officially 100 days to the Paralympic games in Tokyo and we thought to catch up with two of our bp Angola Paralympic ambassadors who are training for the games, to talk about their experience regarding diversity, equity and inclusion
Regina Dumbo (left) and Esperanca Gicasso (right) - bp Angola paralympic Athelete Ambassadors
Esperanca Gicasso, 29, a  Esperança Gicasso, 29, a T12 athlete who competes in 100, 200 and 400 metres and widely known by her pupils as the teacher who runs, was one of the first  athletes to sign as a bp ambassador 10 years ago along with four others who have now all retired. Esperança is a household name of Paralympic sport in Angola due to her on- and-off-track success with medals won at the continent and world stages as well as for the great contribution she makes to society as a primary school teacher in Luanda.

As a person with disability, she speaks passionately about her own struggle growing up after developing the disability at the age of three. Despite those challenges, she joined the Paralympic movement in 2008 and three years later she signed as a bp ambassador.

"In the beginning there was a lot of prejudice from friends and people, but this has changed over time," she says. "I have learned that inclusion is the equity for everyone, and they must have the same rights to education, health, justice. 

"With the bp sponsorship I felt included in society as it has helped me be recognized in the society and my training improved which led to me winning medals. As an individual, I managed to study and realized my dream of becoming a teacher and built my house.   

‘’Due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, we only resumed training in January this year and the preparation is going very well. I am working very hard to qualify for the games in Tokyo. Everyone must have the will to reach their goals and it hasn’t been easy to reach this stage. I have always been a resilient person with focus on my goals, which were to train and compete while at the same time doing a degree to be a teacher. To achieve this is all thanks to the support I have had from bp.’’

Regina Dumbo, 18, is a rising star of Paralympic sport in Angola. Totally blind and orphaned, she was discovered by members of the Paralympic sports association of Huambo, in the central plateau of Angola. She started her sports career in 2015 in the T11 category and signed as bp Ambassador in 2019. She competes in 100, 200, and 400 metres.

Regina talks about her journey so far and the challenges she has faced.

"The Paralympic Games are a great event and I must train hard to meet my goal to participate in it. To those people who have disabilities like me, I wish they could also join in sports as it is inclusive and great for health.
"With a sufferer from disability, I feel sad for the lack of inclusion in the society, but I have the bp sponsorship, and the sport helps me overcome these issues.’’

"There have been lots of changes since I signed the sponsorship deal, and this makes me train even harder to attain the objectives. With this support, I have bought a house and I am studying to fulfill my dream of becoming a lawyer or teacher." 

bp Angola’s partnership with Paralympic Committee dates from 2011 with the preparation of the Paralympic athletes for participation in the London 2012 games where our honorary Ambassador, the legendary José Sayovo won a gold and a bronze medal. The support continued through the Rio Paralympic games. In 2016, bp Angola reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting Angolan Paralympic sport until the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo.