Paralympians Will Bayley and Maddie Thompson have today been announced as athlete ambassadors for the next ParalympicsGB Sports Fest, which offers disabled people the chance to “Try the Sports, Meet the Medallists, Get Inspired”.
The event, a free two-day multi-sport event which aims to build on the momentum created by London 2012, will take place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27.
Will Bayley helped to put Table Tennis on the map at London 2012, winning silver in individual competition and bronze in the team event. After attending the inaugural Sports Fest in Surrey last December, where over 1,000 people attended over the course of two days, he was delighted to be an athlete ambassador for the event in Sheffield.
He said: “I’m really pleased to be named as an athlete ambassador for such a great event. It’s fantastic to open the doors to people who are curious about getting involved in Paralympic sport, giving them the opportunity to try out a range of activities, to speak with coaches and to encourage them to take the next step.
Bayley added: “One of the most fun parts of the Sports Fest is the come-and-try sessions, and getting people to have a go at Table Tennis. I love to showcase my sport and anyone can enjoy it, so I’d really encourage people to sign up and get involved with Sports Fest so that they can experience it for themselves.”
Maddie Thompson made her Paralympic debut at London 2012 as one of the youngest players on the women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, which produced the most successful performance from the squad since Atlanta 1996. She has a strong attachment to the host city for Sports Fest, as she plays for local team, the Sheffield Steelers.
Commenting on today’s announcement, she said: “I’m thrilled to be named as an athlete ambassador and to be bringing Sports Fest to Sheffield. By registering for the event, you have the opportunity to try out a wide range of sports and you might even discover a hidden talent! It’s great to see how excited people are about Paralympic sport as we move toward Rio and I’m really looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm for Wheelchair Basketball when the event kicks off in April.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA, commented: “We know that the achievements of our athletes at London 2012 has been key in encouraging people to get active and to explore how they can get involved in disability sport. Therefore I’m confident that visitors to Sports Fest in Sheffield will really benefit from the opportunity to meet our ambassadors Will and Maddie alongside many other athletes who we hope will attend. They’ll get an insight into their experiences in Paralympic sport and understand their development from competing at grass-roots level to representing their country on the international stage.”
Sports Fest features come-and-try sessions for the vast majority of Paralympic summer and winter sports and meet the medallists sessions, where attendees have the opportunity to ask questions, meet the athletes and receive autographs.
The ParalympicsGB Sports Fest will go to different regions in the UK in 2013 and 2014. Register for the Sheffield event or for more information on future events via www.paralympics.org.uk/sportsfest