Paralympian Poleth Mendes of Ecuador was not sure exactly what kinds of things she should be posting to social media ahead of her participation in the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) #WeAreSport seminar.
Now the World Championships shot put F20 silver medallist is using her Facebook and Instagram to share her life as an athlete more and inspire other women and girls along the way.
#WeAreSport is a campaign which aims to give female athletes the tools and confidence to use the power of social media to promote themselves. It is hoped that those athletes involved – 11 from countries all around the world – will be able to attract new fans and show other people with intellectual impairments that they too can do sport.
The athletes, all from a wide range of sports, took part in an online seminar and were given materials to guide them. Advice was given on what to share and types of content that work well.
“I liked that it was dynamic and entertaining,” Mendes said of the seminar. Even though she is currently injured, the idea of sharing updates about her rehabilitation particularly appealed to the Ecuadorian: “Now I am in recovery so I have uploaded photos and videos of my therapies and all sports activities.” As part of the project countries also had to nominate an administrator to support athletes in the longer term. Vanessa Vinueza was chosen by the World Intellectual Impairment Sport member in Ecuador and has seen a big change in the way Mendes approaches her social media since the online session.
“The most useful part of the seminar was knowing that in Poleth’s social networks, we can also upload content from day to day, before training or after, with their peers, etc. This means her pages do not have such linear content,” Vinueza said.
And the new activity is already producing results:
“Poleth gets excited when I tell her that someone or some institution has started to follow her on Instagram or Facebook, for example, World Intellectual Impairment Sport or the IPC [International Paralympic Committee.]”
#WeAreSport is supported by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the IPC, through their 2017 Grant Support Programme.
All materials, including a Quick Start Guide to Social Media and a longer guide, are available in a variety of languages for all World Intellectual Impairment Sport members to use here.