The London 2012 Paralympics raised the country’s awareness of the quality of competitive sport amongst disabled athletes. All around the globe people embraced the achievements of the highly skilled contestants and were introduced to new sporting personalities and new sports. The games served to inspire budding sportspeople in the disabled community, to show them just what is possible with dedication, training and a fierce competitive spirit.
It is important not to let this momentum stall in the aftermath of the games, so we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular sports at the London 2012 Paralympics and how to go about getting more information.
One of the events that realy grabbed the public’s imagination was Wheelchair Rugby or ‘murderball’ as it is commonly known. A highly physical contact sport that’s as exciting to watch as play, Wheelchair Rugby promises to be the next big sporting phenomenon . Check out the GBWR website for more information.
Wheelchair Basketball is another fast paced and popular sport with action switching from end to end. There are clubs up and down the UK and The British Wheelchair Basketball website can direct you to your nearest.
David Weir became a national hero during the London Paralymics, winning four gold medals to become the greatest wheelchair racer of all time. He’s going to be a hard act to follow but if you want to train to go race in your wheelchair the The British Wheelchair Racing Association is the place to start.
Riding was another sport that saw British sportspeople triumphing and is an activity that is deeply ingrained into the British psyche. The Riding for the Disabled Association helps over 30,000 people a year discover the joys of riding. With core activities of riding, carriage driving, vaulting (like gymnastics on horseback), dressage and showjumping, the RDA is run by 18,000 volunteers.
Rowing has been opened up to disabled athletes through the use of adaptive equipment. This sport is suitable for almost all disability groups, including those with visual impairment or learning difficulties, amputees and wheelchair. Many rowing clubs offer disabled rowing programmes and British Rowing has a section for getting started with adaptive rowing, with links to relevant sites.
For general information England Athletics has a special section on Disability Athletics, underlining its commitment to support and develop opportunities of disabled people. It sets out policy documents and guidance to organisers of athletic events.
If your chosen sport isn’t mentioned here then take a look at Parasport, an excellent site to get a comprehensive overview of disability sport. You can quickly find what opportunities are available, with links through to clubs and facilities throughout the UK. It is a joint initiative between British Paralympic Association (BPA) and the professional services firm Deloitte.