13 December 2013
Sport England’s Active People Survey figures have shown that disability athletics participation is growing, with a 12% increase over the 12 months to October 2013. Those participating in disability sport at least once a week has risen to 123,800, an increase of 13,300 people.
This marks the end of a ground-breaking year of increased interest in para-athletics, with grassroots investment by Sport England complementing the promotion of elite competition at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, the third day of which was the International Paralympic challenge in front of a sell-out crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
The UK also hosted the inaugural Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final in Birmingham in June, with both para-athletics events receiving prime time broadcast coverage thanks to Channel 4’s ongoing support of Paralympic sport.
Double Paralympic and world champion Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks), who is on the shortlist for this Sunday’s prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, believes that this rise represents a continued legacy from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“It's great to see that more disabled people are getting involved in athletics and hopefully this will continue for a long time. It’s also great to see that Sport England’s increased investment in promoting grassroots participation is proving so effective in harnessing the inspiration of elite performances. It shows that London 2012 had a real impact on people, attitudes are changing and disability sport is really growing.”