10 March 2010
Less than three months out from the first major disability events of 2010, and just prior to the selection policy for the IPC World Championships (January 2011) being released, almost a full complement of UKA’s Paralympic World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) athletes and their coaches met in Manchester on 6-7 March for the first WCPP squad get together of the year.
The athletes, who are funded at either Podium or Development level, got involved in media training and psychology sessions on Saturday before a squad training day on Sunday.
Chris Martin, a veteran of four Paralympics and an F33* discus silver medal winner in the Beijing Games (2008) said: “These squad weekends are great from a team building perspective. It would be hard to maintain a real bond if we didn’t see one another and I think this sort of thing really helps. Going into the pressure situation of London we need to know we can rely on one another.”
Vicky Silk, an F40 throws athlete and new onto the Paralympic WCPP for 2010 said: “It’s really good to be part of this programme now that we’re only two years away from London. I really enjoyed getting together with the other athletes to take part in the sessions over the weekend.”
Also joining the squad for the first time was Beijing Paralympic Games bronze medallist (T44 200m) Stefanie Reid. Reid, a lower leg amputee, is based in Dallas, Texas and previously represented Canada. She was cleared to compete for Great Britain & Northern Ireland in January this year and is now working closely with Lee Valley Performance Director Dan Pfaff.
“I’m really excited about being part of a home team in London 2012, it’s such an amazing opportunity,” she said of her involvement with the Aviva GB & NI team going forward. “At the end of the day my decision to compete for Britain was a high performance decision and it came down to the quality of the programme that Britain was delivering, which is one of the best performance programmes out there right now.”
Reid is currently the only GB & NI female elite level athlete in her classification and she is passionate about getting other girls involved: “Not as many girls are involved in sports to start with, but when you look at the population of women involved in disability sports it’s even less. I can’t believe in Britain that we don’t have anyone else in my class at this level, but it’s the same in Canada and the States, there are countries of a larger population than Britain who only have one female amputee competing at elite level and there have got to be girls out there who are interested in it. I’d love to do what I can to help girls of any age or disability, whether it’s recreational or if they want to compete – I really want to be part of that.”
*Classification guidelines are as follows:
T11 or F11 - T13 or F13: athletes with a visual impairment
T20 or F20: athletes with learning difficulties
T31 or F31 - T34 or F34: athletes with Cerebral Palsy (wheelchair)
T35 or F35 - T38 or F38: athletes with Cerebral Palsy (amublant)
T40 or F40: Dwarf athletes
T41 or F41: double above knee amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T42 or F42: single above knee amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T43 or F43: double below knee amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T44 or F44: single below knee amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T45 or F45: double above or below elbow amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T46 or F46: single above or below amputee or physical impairment allowing similar movement
T51 – T54: wheelchair racers
F51 – F58: seated field athletes
For more about Stef check out the short video interview with her by clicking play on the video below.