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paralympicsGB "Sports fest" launched

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30 October 2012

ParalympicsGB gold medallist Jonnie Peacock is encouraging disabled people to sign up to the first ever ParalympicsGB Sports Fest, which was announced today (Tuesday October 30), to be held at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on Monday December 3 and Tuesday December 4.

The festival will provide an opportunity for disabled people to try out different disability sports and explore how they can get involved. It will showcase summer and winter Paralympic sports, including para-triathlon and para-canoeing which will feature in the Paralympic programme for the first time in Rio. There will also be opportunities to meet the stars of the ParalympicsGB team from London, including T44 100m champion Peacock, and to celebrate their amazing achievements and the inspiration they provided to the whole nation.

Peacock, who was identified by the BPA in 2008 at a talent identification day and was supported in his first year in sport by the BPA’s Fast Track Power Programme before moving to a full-time UK Athletics programme, is keen to support the festival:

“I am a walking example of how sport can change your life for the better,” he said. “Sport has totally shaped the person I am today. I went to a BPA talent day when I was 15 years old and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Sport gave me some direction. I am not saying that everyone can go on and win a Paralympic medal, but the process of getting more active or taking up a sport at a local club can definitely have a big impact on your life.”

BPA Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth explained the festival further, saying:

“The festival is about building on the momentum of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We know that the performances of our athletes will have inspired many disabled people to take up sport. This is not just about seeing who is out there who could one day pull on a ParalympicsGB vest, this is about giving people the chance to see what is out there that works for them. For some it might be coaching, officiating or volunteering, for others just the joy of taking part.

“We recognise that the hard work of our athletes this summer has inspired disabled and non-disabled people alike, but we also know that for many sport isn’t just about winning medals. So now, working with our partners, we hope to provide an opportunity to show all the different ways in which people can get involved.”

The Sports Fest, which is free to attend, will include either come-and-try sessions or information stands for the vast majority of the 22 summer and three winter sports in the Paralympic Games. There will also be a presence from the BPA’s online club signposting tool Deloitte Parasport, (www.parasport.org.uk), which has seen a huge upsurge in traffic since the start of the Paralympic Games, as well as the opportunity for other partners to demonstrate the opportunities they provide to get into sport.

Anyone interested in attending can register via the ParalympicsGB website: www.paralympics.org.uk/sportsfest

In addition to the opportunities being offered through the BPA, UKA, through its Aviva Parallel Success programme, is also offering great opportunities for disabled athletes.

The Aviva Parallel Success programme works closely with clubs and coaches and offers Talent Introduction days which include classification (an integral part of disability athletics to ensure fair competition). Talented athletes are then guided through the Talent Pathway towards international representation.

For more information on Aviva Parallel Success check out the Aviva Academy website.