The ParalympicsGB Sports Fest got underway today (Monday December 3), with over 350 people attending the first session of the two-day event to try out Paralympic sports and find out more about sporting opportunities.
Sports Fest is the first festival of Paralympic sport to be held in this country. The festival provides an opportunity for disabled people to try out different disability sports and explore how they can get involved. All of the 22 summer sports and most of the winter sports are present to showcase opportunities in their sports and the Festival is being supported by the presence of over 20 Paralympians.
In the region of 800 people are expected attend over the two days, and nearly 400 more have signed up to receive more information on future events.
“We have had an absolutely brilliant response from the public to the event”, said British Paralympic Association Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth.
“For previous talent ID days, we have had between 40 and 60 people through the door each day, but we should have more than 10 times that number at the Sports Fest over the next 48 hours. It’s very exciting and a clear indication that the inspirational impact of London is still with us, and we look forward to running days like these in the other home countries. We want the Festival to be for everyone not just those we hope have the talent to be part of a future ParalympicsGB team, and that seems to be happening.
”On a day when Sport England has announced an extra £10.2 million in funding for disability sport, today’s activity shows the inspirational impact that London 2012 has had on disabled people.”
Natasha Baker is one of the ambassadors for the festival and was delighted by the event.
“Hopefully my performance in London might have inspired a few of the people here today and elsewhere in the UK to go out and achieve their own dreams, be it winning a medal or just getting started in sport”, she said today of the Sports Fest.
Lucy Shuker is another of the Paralympians supporting the Sports Fest. She won a bronze in Wheelchair Tennis in London.
Speaking today she said: “When I had my accident at the age of 21 I didn’t really know what I would do with myself and had to make huge adjustments, but I found my way into wheelchair tennis and it changed my life dramatically. I wish I could have come to a day like this to learn all about the sports that are available to disabled people.”
The Sports Fest, which is free to attend, also includes a presence from the BPA’s online club signposting tool Deloitte Parasport, (www.parasport.org.uk), which has proven very popular since the start of the Paralympic Games.
There are plans for the event to go to different regions in the UK in 2013. Register via www.paralympics.org.uk.