Logroño, (EFE).- The Foundation “Deporte Sin Barreras” and the multinational BH Fitness have developed the first line of strength and cardiovascular equipment for sports practice in Spain, within a research and technology transfer project, which has made sports practice a vehicle of inclusion for all individuals who attend a sports center.

This innovative project, initiated in 2018, has allowed BH Fitness, based in Vitoria, to develop this line of equipment, which was completed by the end of 2023 and meets the requirements of inclusion, so that they can be used by anyone, regardless of their mobility circumstances.

This was detailed to EFE in Logroño by the president of the Foundation “Deporte Sin Barreras”, Javier Roca, who pointed out that the foundation is not aware of any sports equipment in Spain that fully embodies inclusivity.

Blind individuals, those requiring rehabilitation after a stroke, wheelchair users, and those suffering from other physical injuries are among the profiles susceptible to using this type of equipment, as well as those with other disabilities, who are targeted by the health-sport action of this Foundation.

Among the profiles of individuals with disabilities, who are targeted by the health-sport action of this Foundation and who are susceptible to using all this type of equipment, he mentioned blind individuals, those requiring rehabilitation after a stroke, wheelchair users, and those suffering from other physical injuries.

First inclusive equipment in Logroño and Bilbao.

He recalled that the genesis of the development of this project lies in the essence of the Foundation “Deporte Sin Barreras”, which he created in 2009 after managing to bring to Spain a model of inclusive machine, whose only two models were placed in 2015 in the municipal sports centers of Lobete, in Logroño; and San Ignacio, in Bilbao.

This equipment was manufactured by the research institute and model manufacturer Vectra Fitness, from Seattle (United States), which “was very advanced in these aspects,” and was developed within a research and technology transfer collaboration, he reported.

Roca, who came from the world of engineering and saw in 2004 that sports were not understood as a vehicle for inclusion in Spain, explained that his goal at that time was to bring a model to this country that would serve to highlight the importance of designing truly inclusive elements and that other manufacturers, sports technicians, and anyone in the exercise-health sector could refer to it, he indicated.

He valued the sensitivity that the City Councils of Logroño and Bilbao had in 2015 to understand the importance of sports as a vehicle for inclusion and to acquire that inclusive North American model for their sports centers.

He also highlighted the sensitivity of BH Fitness which, from its corporate social responsibility, in 2018 became the technological research partner of the Foundation “Deporte Sin Barreras” to continue its project of inclusion in exercise-health for all, which the multinational concluded last year by completing the line of equipment.

The Foundation “Deporte Sin Barreras” currently continues with the R&D department of this company for the development and improvement of inclusive sports equipment, he detailed.

He also expressed his desire that, based on this project, the administrations managing sports facilities or private sports centers are aware that they have the possibility of opting for conventional equipment or elements with real inclusion criteria, which will represent “an advance towards people with reduced mobility.”

There is a lack of inclusion regulations in sports.

According to Roca, currently, sports centers comply with architectural accessibility regulations, but the vast majority do not have inclusive physical exercise elements.

There is also no national regulation in the field of inclusion, and in his view, public administrations should be aware of the need to regulate the implementation of sports equipment with inclusion criteria.

Finally, he has appreciated the work carried out by the entity he presides over, dedicated to making exercise-health an element of inclusion and to generating scholarships to support adapted sports, including support for Paralympic sports.