A new partnership to champion inclusivity
- MAS Innovation and National Paralympic Committee sign landmark MoU
Tuesday (23) saw MAS Innovation and the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) sign a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that promises to empower disabled athletes around the island to represent Sri Lanka on the national stage.
With the stress of the pandemic, it has been easy for us to forget the power of sport – something that binds us all together in a powerful sense of camaraderie and national spirit.
Sri Lanika is home to some of the most talented sportsmen and sportswomen in the world, and a huge number of paralympic athletes as well who have the power to be international champions in the same vein as Dinesh Priyantha and Dilan Kodithuwakku, the paralympic athletes who won gold and bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games earlier this year.
Sri Lanka alone has more than 1.7 million people living with some form of disability. Many between the ages of 15 and 35 who are eligible and interested in para sports often go unidentified due to infrastructure and socioeconomic challenges, with only a few having the opportunity to participate at a club or national level.
These landmark wins by para athletes on the international stage have the power to influence a whole new generation of para athletes. However, many of these athletes struggle to achieve these dreams because of their disabilities.
In a bid to help create a more empowering and inclusive environment for para athletes around Sri Lanka, MAS Innovation (Pvt.) Ltd., a subsidiary of MAS Holdings, has entered into a landmark partnership with the NPC to provide innovative, best-in-class sports attire for Sri Lankan national para athletes. This partnership follows an MoU signed between MAS and the NPC on Tuesday (23) establishing MAS as the official clothing partner for the NPC, and will be applicable for local training, selection trials, and competitions held both locally and internationally for the Sri Lankan paralympic contingent.
Through this partnership, MAS will be the official clothing partner for the NPC over the next two years, with Sri Lanka’s Asian Youth Paralympic team being the first recipients of sporting gear provided by MAS, South Asia’s largest apparel and sportswear manufacturer for the world’s leading sportswear brands.
Speaking at a press conference held to commemorate the signing of the MoU, MAS Innovation (Pvt.) Ltd. Chief Innovation Officer Ranil Vitarana shared that this occasion marks an important day in MAS Holdings’ diversity and inclusivity journey. “Our purpose is to be changemakers and enrich the fabric of life on our planet,” Vitarana said, adding: “We inspire our people to make change for good and make products that transform people’s lives and protect the environment.”
Vitarana went on to explain that MAS has always strived to create an inclusive environment for its 300-plus employees with disabilities, adding that the commitment of these employees in going above and beyond in their duties is something everyone at MAS aspires to.
Vitarana also explained that recognising the challenges persons with disabilities face with conventional clothing which requires the full usage of both arms or legs, MAS ventured into the adaptive apparel space in 2019, catering to persons with temporary and permanent disabilities and mobility restrictions. Through comprehensive research with medical professionals, caregivers, and users from the US and Sri Lanka, MAS creates products that enable independent dressing and incorporate adaptive functionality into mainstream clothing.
NPC President Lt. Col. Deepal Herath also addressed the gathering expressing his excitement at embarking on this new journey with MAS. In an accompanying statement, Herath shared: “Sri Lanka will be represented by six young athletes and two swimmers at the third edition of the Asian Youth Para Games held in Bahrain with an overall participation of more than 35 countries. The athletes will be competing under different categories and are now undergoing the last lap of their training in Colombo. This partnership with MAS will greatly benefit our athletes, elevating their performance and status as representatives of Sri Lanka.”
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallist Dinesh Priyantha also addressed the gathering, expressing his hopes for the partnership between MAS and the NPC and recognising the partnership’s potential to provide opportunities for aspiring para athletes.