Blog: I want to get involved in Paralympic sports… but where do i go? How do i get involved?

Blog: I want to get involved in Paralympic sports… but […]

Blog: I want to get involved in Paralympic sports… but where do I go? How do I get involved?

A lot of work has been done on this very question, on providing resources for citizens to consume! Did you know Britain is approaching a figure of just under 12,000,000 people believed to be disabled. The figure is right because when you realise that leaves 80% of the population as not seen as part of the category then its a correct figure. In fact this knowledge comes from the The DWP Family Resources Survey 2015 to 2016. Yet, it remains the case that those with disabilities are at a double the chance risk of not being active than others according to Sport England. Yet the Activity Alliance found 70% of people with physical impairment express the desire to reverse this trend starting with themselves. to just make a change of direction like this is actually really feasible!

consider this comment, and we quote Baroness Grey-Thompson, who has been a Paralympic champion multiple times, “The barriers [to participation] range from accessibility to staff training, but the good news is the physical activity sector is committed to delivering inclusive services for all.

“With ukactive, the not-for-profit body comprised of members and partners from across the UK active lifestyle sector, we are working with Sport England on the ‘Everyone Can’ project to create a cultural shift and change perceptions around disabled people’s participation in physical activity.”

In this article we explore with the help of stair lifts manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts (a constantly developing company) where to start on the goal of finding the Paralympic Sport for you and where to play it, near you!

What are the playing numbers in these sports you might ask?

The sector so to speak is thriving! A quick search online will reveal  a lot of players across multiple sports all over the world! These a global sports.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games had 177 competitions but on the London 2012 games the figure was 170! Its a growth competition and the range of sports played is staggering, you can choose from bicycling, to gymnastics, archery and so many more! Rio 2016 had over 140 teams and more the one thousand athletes! They broke 69 world records!

Thinking across the world, one of the fastest growing Paralympic sports is Soccer played by people with blindness conditions. So after the Continental Championships in 2017 the administrators of the event released the participation figures. 36 Nations were represented regionally, coming from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas with 6, 15, 4 and 11 entrants from each continent. This was from Soccer for the visually impaired alone! the figures were up close to 30% via the 28 nations involved at the 2015 championships and is over a 70% rise since the competition in 2013

the following data has been released by IBSA, the “Statistics released by IBSA show how blind football is expanding and growing globally to become one of the most popular Paralympic sports in the world. Data compiled from all the official IBSA 2017 international blind football championships show a significant increase in the number of countries taking part in the events and an expansion of the game to reach new parts of the world.”

In Great Britain alone there are 1,000 weekly team members playing power-chair soccer with 94 teams just in England (data up to Jan 2017). Wheelchair Basketball is played for 1,000 hours per day across the UK and in Tennis one of the governing bodies in Britain has recorded 12.689 physically impaired individuals playing the sport of tennis every month and that was just from disability-specific sports development programs in 2018.

So the data from the UK is just as encouraging as many other nations!

Jill Osleger speaking in her position on record as the Tennis Foundation’s National Disability Development Manager said in relation to the popularity, “We are absolutely delighted with the impact our work in driving disability tennis is having. To have turned what we launched in 2013 into one of the biggest disability-specific sports development programs in the country is a phenomenal achievement.” She went on to say, “Tennis really is an adaptable sport that can be for anyone, and there are proven benefits for a person’s physical and mental health, social life and personal development. We’d encourage anyone to get along to a session, pick up a racket and give it a go!”

Q) Where can people access the required sports services and venues?

So much work has and is being done to cater for all these growth sports! People can get involved at this stage from anywhere in Great Britain and these is being developed further. A really handy little guide exists on line, its from Parasport. The goal is to bring together an organisation that hosts the biggest group of individuals all thriving in an active and happy way. Its for coaches, for players and mum’s and dads too! Once involved people can communicate their stories of para-sport. 

This is a really useful organisation because their lists include 15 sites for accessing wheelchair tennis sessions, so for playing tennis. They have 22 resources where para-triathlon, athletics in general and wheelchair triathlon can be accessed. The lists go one, they have 18 places to access wheelchair basketball and no less than 38 places to play soccer including venues for playing power-chair soccer!

Across Parasport’s list they have 160 places listed in Great Britain who host 60 varieties of opportunity… so there really is no reason not explore more about getting active.

Backing all of this up with experience within Paralympics itself has helped tremendously. Baroness Grey-Thompson has elucidated here thoughts when she said “this publication could change your life” about the Disability Rights UK’s comprehensive Doing Sport Differently guide, and the options to get active available. The guide shows methods and solutions to access centres of leisure and sport that are readily accessible to where people live.

The Baroness went on to say  “The ideas and suggestions in this guide and the stories of others’ experiences helped me to think about what I wanted. Just as you will, I found the right way for me.

“Sport and sports facilities are far more accessible to all than they were when I started racing in the 1980s. Doing Sport Differently is the first-ever guide to sport written by disabled people for disabled people designed to enable us to take full advantage of this. There is no reason why we shouldn’t get as much out of sport and exercise as non-disabled people. I am living proof of that.”

Additional sources:

http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/how-we-help/fact-and-statistics

https://www.paralympic.org/news/rio-2016-para-athletics-numbers

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1059859/ibsa-release-new-statistics-highlighting-rise-of-blind-football

http://gbwba.org.uk/gbwba/assets/File/BWB%202016%20Impact%20Report.pdf

http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/player/disability/grassroots-disability-football/powerchair-football

https://www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/disability-tennis-programme-attracts-record-numbers/

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1059859/ibsa-release-new-statistics-highlighting-rise-of-blind-football