College gears up for Paralympic legacy event

Cllr Janet Biggins (right) tries her hand at wheelchair basketball.

A local Paralympian and other disabled athletes gathered at the WISE campus in Stoke Gifford last week to publicise an upcoming London 2012 ‘legacy event’ that takes place next month.

Inspired by the Paralympics, South Gloucestershire Council in partnership with Airbus UK are hosting their own ‘Come and Try It’ event on Thursday 12th July, for people of all ages and abilities with physical and sensory impairments.

Organisers say they want to encourage as many disabled people, whatever their age or ability, to go along and try one or more Paralympic sports.

Each sport will run six sessions throughout the day, in different time slots, so people can come in the morning, afternoon, early evening or all day if they wish – it’s entirely up to them.

The sports – cricket, football, boccia, tennis, table tennis and wheelchair basketball – will be run by experienced coaches from local clubs who can talent spot for the future.

Jo Iles, South Gloucestershire Council’s Senior Sports Development Officer, said:

“From the participants attending we will identify the barriers they face to participation in sports and we can look at how we can break these down. We will register interest in joining local clubs so that we can make sure that the pathways are in place if not we will work with the local clubs and sporting bodies to create new opportunities.”

Karen Butler, a Paralympic shooter from Bradley Stoke, will be taking part in her fourth Paralympics this year. She was spotted at a similar event early on in her career and is a great ambassador for disability sports. She said:

“I fully support the work of South Gloucestershire’s 2012 Legacy. It was at an event like similar to this that I was spotted many years ago at Stoke Mandeville. I wish this type of event had been available when I was younger – I may have got involved a lot earlier than I did.”

Jan Browning, a Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair basketball in Athens (2004), added:

“South Gloucestershire 2012 will give disabled people a great opportunity to try Paralympic events that they will see in person or on television over the summer.”

The Come and Try It event is sponsored by Airbus, supported by South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Circadian Trust, sports bodies, local clubs and schools.

For more information and to register an interest in attending on Thursday 12th July, visit: 2012 Legacy Come and Try Event.

See also: Wheelchair basketball report (video from ITV Westcountry).

Photo: Cllr Janet Biggins (right), Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, tries her hand at wheelchair basketball.

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