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  • The 1st ‘Weaving networks for inclusion via sport’ Conference, organised by GaituzSport,held on 29thNovember at Yimby Sota in Bilbao was successful on all levels, i.e. attendance, participation and contents.

  • The innovative conference could be followed live vía streaming with real time participation using the hashtag #GaituzSportenRed,likewise the attending public.

The main aims of this GaituzSport Conference including sponsorship by the Basque Government, Bizkaia Provincial Council andKirolene; was to give voice to all the social agents, making sport visible and acknowledging it as a tool and social inclusion channel, to break down stereotypes; and discuss existing policies in terms of inclusion and identify the factors preventing their implementation together with improvement proposals.


The conference moderators and co-ordinators were Xabier Leizea, GaituzSport General Co-ordinator and Teacher at Kirolene; and Marta Fernández Rivera, GaituzSport Communication & Marketing Manager and journalist.

After the Conference welcome and presentation, the athlete and journalist Begoña Beristaintook the centre stage narrating her experience in the world of sport.

Next, 2 discussion tables were held where the speakers made valuable contributions and testimonies, identifying points for improvement and proposing actions to advance in the real conclusion of everyone.

At table 1: ‘Real inclusion as a social paradigm’, the following people took part:Maite Alonso Basque Government Deputy Education Minister;  Lide Amilibia Basque Government Deputy Social Affairs Minister;Maite Iturrate, Bizkaia Provincial Council Social Action Department Social Administration & Promotion General Director;Porfirio Hernández Zubizarreta, GaituzSport Chairman andIker Gamboa. Director ofBilbao Kirolak.

At table 2: ‘Sport as a social inclusion tool’ exchanging experiences during the discussion were:Javi Conde, Paralympic champion athlete; RakelMateo, Paralympic triathlete;Ignacio Lekunberri, Mutualia Managing Director; Txema Alonso, Chairmanof Bilbao BSR; Marisol Arietaleaniz. Nurse and co-ordinator of the physical exercise in chronic illnesses research line at BiocrucesandBorja AbadCo-ordinator at the CEDI Chair.



  • An advanced society like ours should ENSURE the inclusion of everyone; and SPORT is a great way to do so.

  • Inclusion is a task for society as a whole, and whilst we must work as a TEAM, the Institutions must lead the way.

  • Inclusion benefits EACH and EVERY ONE.

  • When talking about sport, people make an enormous effort, yet when we refer to inclusion, people seem less interested. Seeing the venue for this 1st‘Weaving Networks for Inclusion Sport’ Conference complete, makes us very hopeful besides showing there is greater AWARENESS among people.

  • Through sport we make the world a fairer, more equal, more INCLUSIVE and more diverse place.

  • In sport, essential values like: solidarity, constancy, sacrifice and team work, etc., are what move us. Therefore, when we do sport with ABLED and disABLED people together, we all gain in CONFIDENCE besides improving our performance.

  • There’s no better SHOWCASE than sport to change social prejudices.

  • EDUCATION is lacking but above all a lot of INFORMATION is lacking.

  • In terms of education we have to talk about POSITIVE CO-EXISTENCE, education based on values, highlighting respect for diversity and how it enriches. 

  • We should be more humble and acknowledge we’re all disABLED in some way.

  • The Institutions must CO-ORDINATE with and complement each other. In the Basque Country we’ve been speaking about inclusion for years; not to mention there have been policies in force for a long time likewise enormous investment in resources to attend diversity; nevertheless, there’s still much to be done.

  • We need to advance in assistance, resources besides working on the way to INTERVENE with the disabled.

  • We have to ensure everyone has EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES, not only in the field of disABILITY but also in the policies of gender, education, health, etc.

  • Sport is BENEFICIAL for society as a whole and means health, well-being and social cohesion.

  • Our society is diverse and this DIVERSITY is what makes it richer not to mention more complex.

  • Through sport we’ve managed to get families with disABLED people to see their children differently and value them more.

  • There is NO SEX EQUALITY in sport, and if we talk about disabled women much less.

  • Everybody’s interested in the PARALYMPICS; however, it’s a different matter when they’re over because they’re less VISIBLE than the Olympics.

  • We can’t claim to be an inclusive society when 50% of the population, i.e. WOMEN, don’t have the same opportunities.

  • SOCIAL CHANGES are more complex than regulatory ones.

  • In the area of HEALTH there are many illnesses, but they’re not all the same, but rather are very diverse so a lot of personalisation is required in terms of physical activity.

  • Physical exercise prescribed by SPECIALISTS is a ‘medicine’.

  • There are still many WALLS to be torn down in the field of inclusion.

  • We foster inclusion via sport at GaituzSport using the RESOURCES extant, yet we have the sensation these resources are underused.

  • The inclusion network needs to be woven day by day, because this is a long distance RACE.



Presentation of the event and Experience by Begoña Beristain, athlete and journalist.

Discussion table 1: “Real inclusion as a social paradigm”.

Discussion table 2: “Sport as a social inclusion tool”.


GaituzSport was born in 2014 as a Social Innovation Project of the Basque Adapted Sports Federation, to respond to the reflections that emerged from the Euskadi Adapted Sports Plan 2015-2020.