10 February 2012
To mark tomorrow's 200 days to go milestone to the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Saturday 11 February), the British Paralympic Association has announced that it will give two tickets to the London Games to every retired Paralympian who has ever represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Games.
This unique offer allows the BPA to recognise the incredible contribution athletes have made to British sporting success over the years and ensures that the current crop of athletes will have even more support as they strive for success in the London. It also recognises the heritage around the Paralympic Games in the UK, the origins of which are traced back to Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948.
“This is a fantastic offer from ParalympicsGB and a great opportunity for the Paralympians of yesteryear to get together and share their experiences...all the time trying to convince ourselves that we could actually have been there competing,” said former T46 800m World Record holder Danny Crates, a Paralympic gold medallist in Athens (2004).
“As an elite athlete you’re always going to wonder ‘what if...?’, but with 200 days to go I think the prospect of working on the event, sharing my knowledge and celebrating what I hope will be the most successful Games ever for the ParalympicsGB team, will be the sensible - and more enjoyable - option, and I hope that many of my retired Paralympic team mates will join me!”
Crates, who retired from competitive track and field in 2009, had a hugely successful career which also included World Indoor and European Championship titles in addition to Paralympic Games bronze over 400m in Sydney (2000).
Margaret Maughan, the first ever Briton to win a gold medal at the first official Paralympic Games in 1960, also expressed her support for the announcement: “I am so pleased that the BPA have given me and other Paralympians the opportunity to attend the Games in London next year. I am very proud to be a Paralympian and I hope that in London I will join many other supporters in cheering on the British team.”
The origin of the Paralympic Games can be traced to the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 when injured WW11 veterans held the first disabled sport competition in archery.
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA said: “I am very proud to say that we will be looking after our retired Paralympians in London by providing them with two tickets to the Games free of charge. These athletes represented our nation and this offer goes some way towards celebrating their contribution to the history of the British Paralympic team. The BPA was only formed in 1989 meaning that our formal records don’t go back to the beginning of the Paralympic movement, so we are looking forward to making contact with all British Paralympians through this offer and welcoming them to London.”
Any retired athletes interested in signing up should visit the BPA’s Paralympians’ Club website at www.paralympiansclub.org.uk and register as a member. The form will then be distributed out to the members. Any retired athletes who would prefer to receive their form by post should call the BPA on 0207 842 5789.
The BPA will make every effort to provide retired Paralympians with tickets to see the sports that they originally competed in. Winter sports and sports that are no longer included in the Paralympic programme will be allocated either a day pass or tickets to a similar sport. Athletes who have competed in multiple events will be able to indicate their preferred sport, and the BPA will endeavour to fulfil their request.
The scheme will not include athletes who are still competing and who may be selected for London as all selected athletes will receive four tickets free of charge for their friends and family courtesy of P&G’s Nearest and Dearest programme.