Today, at Tedworth House, a Help for Heroes run Recovery Centre in Wiltshire, Help for Heroes announced they are supporting eight athletes to enable them to be part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme , which will attend the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games in March.
The aim of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme, which is run by the British Paralympic Association , is to give aspiring Paralympians the opportunity to experience the unique environment of the Games. Help for Heroes are thrilled to have the opportunity for a cohort of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans, who are currently participating in disability sport, to be part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme – the first time that this number of wounded servicemen and women have been included in the BPA’s programme. This has been made possible through their partnership with the BPA, which is committed to introducing military personnel and veterans to opportunities in Paralympic sport.
The Paralympic Inspiration Programme will provide both inspiration and education and is designed to help drive a new generation of athletes to aim for Paralympic success. Additionally, there will be a rigorous curriculum that the participants will undertake, with lessons about nutrition, media, anti-doping, competition planning and goal setting, as well as being expected to keep up with their current training programmes.
By providing learning opportunities and experience from the Paralympic Games in Sochi 2014, Help for Heroes and the BPA hope the programme will demonstrate to military athletes what can be achieved through sport and encourage them to pursue their sporting ambitions.
Martin Colclough, Head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes, said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique initiative to enable our country’s wounded to experience the spirit of the winter Paralympics at Sochi, thanks to our partners at the British Paralympic Association. It is our hope that this experience will inspire our Paralympic Inspiration Programme athletes to dedicate themselves to their training in order to achieve their dreams of competing in future summer and winter Paralympic Games.
“A Paralympic athlete that Help for Heroes have supported, is Jon Allan Butterworth and he was given the opportunity to attend a Help for Heroes funded Paralympic Sports camp in San Diego in 2009. He then went on to win three silver medals at the London 2012 Games; clearly these inspiration programmes work, and achieve great results. I can’t wait to see what heights our new Paralympic athletes achieve in the future.”
Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB at Sochi 2014, said:
“We know that the Paralympic Games can be an incredibly powerful experience for all those who attend, and so we are delighted that we will be running our second Paralympic Inspiration Programme in Sochi so that we can both inspire and educate disabled athletes who may go on to compete one day for this country at a Paralympic Games.
“Our work with Help for Heroes is not only about supporting potential future Paralympians, it is about encouraging wounded, sick and injured personnel to consider sport in their future. So for these nine Help for Heroes participants, I hope that their experience in Sochi will inspire them to pursue their sporting dream, whatever that may be.”
For more information about Help for Heroes, please visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk