APR/MAY 2016 | ISSUE 1
> HANNAH COCKROFT REVEALS ALL
MURDERBALL ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?
> The five-year-old golf prodigy
THE ATHLETIC AESTHETIC > THE SCIENCE
BEHIND THE BLADE
WELCOME APRIL/MAY 2016 | ISSUE 1
elcome to the first issue of OnTrack Magazine. We are delighted to have launched this magazine and hope it will serve as a source of information and inspiration to people of all ages and abilities. OnTrack is all about staying healthy, getting fit and having fun in the process. The barriers to accessing sport and exercise are slowly being broken down and more opportunities are arising everyday for disabled people to get involved with. Every issue of OnTrack will bring you a wide and varied selection or articles and interviews, from athlete profiles to outdoor activities. Our ‘Have you ever tried…?’ spread will look at a more unusual sport each time, this issue we have looked at the fast-paced sport of roller derby, check out page 34. Interviews with elite athletes will grace our pages and give you an insight into how they started out in their sport of choice, how hard they work to achieve and sustain their elite performance levels, what they eat and if they have any pre-race, superstitious habits. You will find revealing articles with wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft, visually-impaired sprinter Libby Clegg and Para-Canoeist Ian Marsden in this issue.
top names and he is just getting started. If you haven’t already seen his widely shared video online, visit www.ontrackmagazine.co.uk to take a look at Tommy’s incredible form. Sport is not only a great way to keep healthy and get fit, it can be a great way to incorporate physio exercises, strengthen your body and increase your social circle by meeting like-minded people. Whether it be a team sport you are looking for or a gym that is accessible or an activity that the whole family can get involved in, OnTrack will aim to bring you as much information as possible on the choices available to you. Finally, OnTrack Magazine is a completely free of charge publication so please sign up today by using the form on page 50, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ontrackmagazine.co.uk to sign up online. We would love to hear your thoughts on our first issue so please email email@example.com.
Our cover star is Tommy Morrissey, an incredible fiveyear-old golfer who has not let the fact that he was born with a partial right arm hold him back. This confident young golfer has shared the green with most of golf’s
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Editor: Rosalind Tulloch Staff Writer: Lisa Mitchell Staff Writer: Dionne Kennedy Designer: Barry Lochhead Marketing: Sophie Scott Sales: Allan Fleming Andy Singh Robin Wilson
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CONTENTS APRIL/MAY 2016
21 07 THE INSIDE TRACK
Keeping you up-to-date with all the current sports news
12 REVOLUTIONISING EXERCISE
25 THE ATHLETIC AESTHETIC
OnTrack explores the science behind running blades
30 LIBBY CLEGG
Kris Saunders-Stowe calls for us to get active with Wheely Good Fitness
Stepping into the world of the Commonwealth gold medallist
15 LET’S GET PHYSICAL
We lift the lid on roller derby
Accessing a gym near you
17 SWING FOR SUCCESS
The little golfer that is taking the internet by storm
21 HANNAH COCKROFT
34 HAVE YOU TRIED…? 37 MAKING WAVES
An interview with rower, Grace Clough
38 IAN MARSDEN
What does the future hold for this veteran sporting hero?
We talk to the Paralympic’s golden girl 4
40 MURDERBALL Are you ready for the only full-contact disability sport?
42 OUTDOOR ACTION We visit Castle Semple to see what outdoor activities are on offer
45 FRAME FOOTBALL Richard Seedhouse implores us to get involved with the beautiful game
46 BRITAIN: 15 WORLD: 00 The UK are at the very top when it comes to tennis success
48 SPORTS CLUB FOCUS This issue we turn the spotlight to a Romford boccia club
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THE INSIDE TRACK Keeping you up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of disability sport
INSPIRING SPORTS CAMP WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport will be hosting a ‘Feel Inspired’ Primary Sports Camp on Wednesday 18 May, at Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre, Wheelers Lane, Birmingham, B13 0ST. The Primary Sports Camp is open to children with physical or mild sensory impairments between the ages of six and 11. Children who would not traditionally fit within ‘disability sport classification’, such as those with dyspraxia, epilepsy or some form of internal organ dysfunction or absence will also be included. The aim of this broader definition is to make some form of provision for those children who are unable to ‘fit in’ to mainstream PE/Sport Provision but who also do not qualify for disability provision. Entry to the camp is free. All are welcome to attend the camp and coaches will attempt to
include parents, teachers and escorts in the activities. The camp will run from 10am – 2.30pm and activities will include, athletics, boccia, golf, new age kurling, tennis and a fun session. To request an entry form and get further information contact WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport on: 01296 395995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARALLEL LONDON – GET INVOLVED On Sunday 4 September 2016, London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will play host to the world’s first fully accessible and inclusive, mass participation run for people of all abilities. It has a star-studded list of ambassadors already, including, Geoff Adams-Spink, Martin Dougan and Sophie Morgan, to name but a few, all headed by founder, Andrew Douglass. Kelly Knox is also an ambassador for the event. She is one of the UK’s top models and the champion of a new campaign ‘Diversity
not Disability’, aimed at improving positive body image and awareness about disabilities. She said: ”Parallel London is the first of its kind. It is a run for everyone, so it doesn’t matter if you are disabled, non-disabled, if you have a health condition, any shape, size or age. It’s completely open and free for anyone to get involved in. Parallel London is all about togetherness, inclusion, equality and a sense of achievement. I think it will be a place where disabled people, if they feel they haven’t been able to access fitness through a gym because of accessibility, etc,
it’s a place where they can just be themselves and enjoy being active. “The registration opened in February, so we are hoping it’s going to be huge. You can do either a 100m run all the way up to a 5km. You don’t have to think ‘oh my God I have to run forever’, you can just do a short run. So, I think more people will give it a go. “I’m really excited about being an ambassador for Parallel London. When they asked me to become an ambassador I jumped at the chance. “I hope that the event will be received very positively by the disabled community. What Parallel London is aiming to do is to remove barriers which a lot of disabled people face in society. I do believe in the social model of disability and disabled people are disabled by the barriers closed by society, whether that be accessibility or a negative attitude, so hopefully an event like this will inspire and empower disabled people. To find out more and to get involved with Parallel London visit → www.parallellondon.com.
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| 7 17/04/2016 21:34
PANATHLON RECEIVE RECORD INVESTMENT
PUBLIC URGED TO ‘SUPERCHARGE PARALYMPICSGB’ The British Paralympic Association (BPA) have urged the British public to help ‘Supercharge ParalympicsGB’ and show their support for our athletes over the course of 2016 and beyond. Supercharge ParalympicsGB is the first time that the BPA has launched such a major public-facing campaign to generate support and raise funds for ParalympicsGB. The ParalympicsGB team will face its toughest competition yet in Rio with standards increasing across all sports among other nations and that is likely to become even harder over coming Games. Following a home Games in London, the team also faces a decade of long haul travel – with upcoming Games in Rio, Pyeongchang, Tokyo and Beijing. It will be more challenging and expensive than ever before for the BPA to support athletes that in turn can inspire real change across society through their performances. The BPA, a registered charity, has historically received some public fundraising support but the ‘Supercharge ParalympicsGB’ campaign will take this to a whole new level and a major drive to fundraise money to help take ParalympicsGB to Rio and beyond. Alongside the fantastic support already received from the National Lottery and the BPA’s commercial partners, the funds raised will help best prepare the team in the crucial final days before Rio and lay the ground for future success. Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said of the launch: “We want to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to win medals and make the nation proud in Rio and beyond. That means getting the public and our partners involved to help to Supercharge the team to make the ParalympicsGB team as successful and inspiring to others as possible.” If you want to support our elite British Paralympic athletes to make it to Rio and beyond, you can text ‘SUPER’ to 70700 to donate £5 (plus your network charge). Visit www.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge for more information.
The Jack Petchey Foundation, which has supported Panathlon’s work in providing sporting opportunities to disabled young people in London and Essex for 12 years, has handed over a cheque for £99,958. This brings its total investment in the charity to over £600,000. The cheque was presented at Panathlon’s recent East London final to Panathlon patron and Paralympian Danny Crates by Schenell Stephens, Grants Officer for the Jack Petchey Foundation. Danny said: “Thanks to this support from the Jack Petchey Foundation we can get many more young people involved in Panathlon. “Even though Panathlon was around long before the London Olympics, it has really grown since 2012 thanks to the support of partners like the Jack Petchey Foundation. I really feel people’s eyes have been opened with regards to the power of disability sport and what it can do for young people.” Schenell said: “Panathlon provides a fantastic opportunity for young people with disabilities to engage in sport and with each other. It’s great for us at the Foundation to come along to these events and see the impact our funding is directly having on the lives of so many school children thanks to Panathlon.” The cheque will enable Panathlon to support 2,000 children in specially-adapted sports across 50 competitions in London and Essex. It will also fund 45 courses to train 450 Young Leaders who officiate in Panathlon competitions. Panathlon provides sporting opportunities for over 7,500 disabled young people each year across London and 27 counties nationwide. Over 450 schools took part in Panathlon’s 115 ‘mini Paralympic’ competitions in 2014/15, with more than 50,000 active hours of sport provided to disabled children. www.panathlon.com
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A new family sports show is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 25-26 June this year. The show has been created to inspire kids and families to take part in sport and offer them the opportunity to discover their sporting passion whatever their age or ability. 35 sporting partners have signed up to attend the unique show with more than 20 delivering both able-bodied and disability disciplines of their sport. 100 former and current sporting stars will be attending the event to play and coach alongside kids and families. Ade Adepitan,
David Weir and Will Bayley are just some of the Paralympians who will be attending. Some of the disability sports on offer to try out and find out more about include, blind cricket, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, para-archery, handcycling, sitting volleyball and many more. So if you are looking to try out some sports with your family and friends, make sure you get the date in your diary. You will also be able to pick up your free copy of OnTrack Magazine there! www.sports-show.co.uk
Up British Gymnastics has reached an important milestone with more clubs than ever offering disability gymnastics across the UK.
Whether providing inclusive opportunities within mainstream sessions or offering specific classes for disabled people, more than 200 clubs affiliated to British Gymnastics now offer these exciting activities for a growing fan base, which includes many people with physical or learning disabilities, sensory impairments or health conditions. The growth in popularity and participation in disability gymnastics is largely down to the British Gymnastics ‘I’M IN’ programme, which aims to develop more high quality opportunities for disabled people in gymnastics. Launched in 2013, with a number of clubs already experienced in offering gymnastics for disabled people, the ‘I’M IN’ programme offers specialist coaching support and mentoring to other clubs who want to become more inclusive. To date, more than 200 coaches
have benefited from this initiative and they have taken their new skills and knowledge back to their respective clubs. Speaking about reaching this exciting milestone, British Gymnastics Chief Executive Officer, Jane Allen, said: “It is important for British Gymnastics to ensure the sport is accessible to as many people as
possible. Since launching in 2013, our ‘I’M IN’ programme has proved very popular and more and more of our coaches around the UK are taking advantage of our specialist training that allows their clubs to open their doors to a wider audience, which is a positive step for all involved.” www.british-gymnastics.org
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| 9 17/04/2016 21:35
Get Out and Get Active At the start of the year, Spirit of 2012, a charity set up to carry forward the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, awarded £4.5 million to a UK-wide consortium led by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). The funding, for a programme named Get Out and Get Active, will be used to help people in 18 locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the focus on increasing participation in fun and inclusive physical activity. The aim is that disabled and non-disabled people can enjoy recreational activity together and Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS, is excited about the programme’s potential: “I am absolutely delighted that EFDS has been invited by Spirit of 2012 to oversee such a major investment into communities across the UK. “We believe this programme has the potential to change how people can be encouraged and enabled to become more active in opportunities which are often on their doorstep but for so long have seemed out of reach. We really think this programme could be a game-changer.” The funding will not focus on providing new activities, but aims to increase demand for, and the accessibility of, existing opportunities in local authorities, sport and activity clubs and the voluntary sector.
The funding award reflects the sentiments of the Sports Strategy released by the government before the New Year, which puts a huge emphasis on how playing sport and being active can have a meaningful and measurable impact on improving people’s lives. In making this significant investment in Get Out and Get Active, Spirit of 2012 is particularly interested in understanding what works best to get those who are least active into activity, and how to keep them active. It is those people that the programme will be specifically trying to reach. Horne points to EFDS’s own insight work as providing a sound knowledge base from which to progress. “EFDS has learnt so much through our research with disabled people about new approaches to engage many more people into active recreation,” he said.
EFDS research has shown: • seven in 10 disabled people want to be more active • six in 10 (64%) disabled people would prefer to take part in sport and physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people Physical inactivity has unsustainable health, economic and social impacts on individuals, families, communities and local services, at an annual cost to society of £7.4billion The programme is due to start in October, more information will be available over the coming months. To find out how you can Get Out and Get Active, visit www.efds.co.uk.
“There are so many lessons we can learn from the project that will support better health and well-being outcomes right across the UK. All partners want to ensure that being active is appealing, accessible, fun and inclusive for a wide variety of populations. “We want to understand how we can give people the confidence to enjoy active lives together, especially with their families and friends."
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BMW RANGE FROM £599 ADVANCE PAYMENT* FOR THE BMW 1 SERIES SPORTS HATCH. To help find the right BMW for you, call 0800 325 600, visit bmw.co.uk/motability or contact the Motability Scheme specialist at your local BMW Centre.
Official fuel economy figures for the BMW range available on the Motability Car Scheme: Urban 33.6-72.4mpg (8.4-3.9l/100km). Extra Urban 55.4-91.1mpg (5.1-3.1l/100km). Combined 44.8-83.1mpg (6.3-3.4l/100km). CO2 emissions 147-89g/km. Figures may vary depending on driving style and conditions.
*The BMW range available on the Motability Contract Hire Car Scheme starts from £599 Advance Payment for the BMW 116d SE 3-door and 5-door Sports Hatch. Models shown are the new BMW X1 xDrive18d xLine from £1,799 Advance Payment, BMW 116d M Sport 5-door Sports Hatch from £1,699 Advance Payment, BMW 318i Sport from £1,899 Advance Payment and BMW 218i Sport Gran Tourer from £1,999 Advance Payment. Prices are correct at time of going to print for orders placed and accepted between 1 April and 30 June 2016. All models on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme include optional metallic paint at no extra cost. Models featured may include options at an additional cost. The facilities offered are for the hire (bailment) of goods. The Motability Contract Hire Scheme is administered by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HB. To qualify you must be in receipt of either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP), which will be taken in lieu of the four weekly rental. Terms and conditions apply and are available on request.
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18/04/2016 09:06 16:51 08/04/2016
REVOLUTIONISING EXERCISE WHEELY GOOD FITNESS IS CHANGING THE WAY DISABLED PEOPLE LOOK AT KEEPING FIT
yms can be a daunting place to people of all abilities, with their terrifying equipment and super fit, lycra®-clad, regular gym bunnies that never seem to break a sweat. Inaccessible entrances, changing rooms, toilets and machinery to boot, make it easy to see why many disabled people would be put off trying to access their local gym.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is of vital importance in leading a healthy lifestyle. According to the Mayo Clinic, we should be aiming to do 30 minutes of exercise everyday, integral in helping you to lose or maintain weight, improving your mood, increasing your energy levels, helping to combat or prevent health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The benefits are not limited to health; it is also a great way of meeting people and boosting your confidence, whilst having fun.
Kris Saunders-Stowe is the founder of Wheely Good Fitness and a wheelchair user himself. Last year he launched exercise classes specifically aimed at disabled people; his high energy approach has attracted many attendees. We spoke to Kris to find out his ethos behind these classes. “I did my gym instruction course and while I was doing that and chatting to different people ideas were going through my head. I ended up looking on YouTube for aerobics for disabled people and everything I came across was so slow and gentle and quite patronising.” “That got me thinking and led me along a slightly different path and within six months I had become a circuits trainer, indoor cycling trainer and I had done my disability qualification. Then I went on to do my exercise to music, which would allow me to teach aerobics.” Kris explains the new approach he took towards his classes. Instead of simply adapting an exercise or movement designed for an able-bodied person, Kris looked at the bigger picture and focused on what exercises would benefit a disabled person in everyday life. “It was a case of saying ‘how does this person fit into the everyday world, how do they use their body, what is the equivalent of their legs, how do they work’? And then do an exercise that would focus on that. So for us obviously, as a wheelchair user, our arms are our legs and I just imagine if you turn somebody upside down and look at the equivalent muscles and how they function and what you →
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have to do to look after them.
“My main focus is the group exercise because it has proven to be so popular and quite unique. We have been invited to several different conferences to do shows and demonstrate what we are capable of. It’s very easy when you do fitness to get used to it and then you forget actually how challenging it can be.”
A Unique Experience
Kris’s goal is to provide a high intensity, fun workout that will burn calories, increase fitness and boost disabled people’s confidence in themselves. He also wants to encourage other instructors to take an interest in teaching classes for disabled people, but feels that the industry is not yet geared up enough to offer instructors enough information or opportunities in this area. He believes that the perception around disability and fitness is still very condescending and that most imagine it to be very gentle and slow. Another issue around training instructors
120 medals won by Paralym picsGB at the 2012 Paralympic Games
to confidently teach classes to people with disabilities is the ‘health and safety’ aspect. Kris found when he was doing his qualification that his instructor would tell him he couldn’t do certain things in his wheelchair because they were seen as ‘dangerous’. However, as a wheelchair user, Kris could comfortably combat these worries, one particular instance was when he was using the step blocks to wheel up on as part of a class and Kris replied, ‘how do you think we get up on a kerb in the street?’
“She did the para-triathlon and did a 1km push, which she did in 11 minutes. She has wanted to be an athlete all her life and I was told that she hadn’t pushed herself properly in her wheelchair since she was 13, she is 60 this year. That for me is the biggest success because she has gained so much confidence and independence.
“Straight away, as soon as you change it to being a daily function or ask people to look at it differently, they change. This is what needs to be seen, to take the life of somebody in a wheelchair or with a disability and see how they function on a daily basis and make that their exercise and suddenly you start to see things very very differently.”
No Excuses Now
Designed to cater for all abilities, Kris’s classes have been a great success and he fondly tells us of one particular lady who has been coming to his class for 18 months.
“It is a fantastic change and to see that regardless of age or ability that you can make improvements.”
There has been such a demand for these high energy classes, that Kris decided to launch a DVD with a workout set to two different tempos, to ensure there is a workout for all fitness levels.
Visit www.wheelygoodfitness.com for more information on Kris’s classes and to buy a copy of the DVD. ■
| 13 18/04/2016 13:00
Wheelchair Skills Training | Youth Clubs | Work Placements | Residential Camps
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LETS GET PHYSICAL Accessing a gym near you
he English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is working hard through the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) to ensure more disabled people can be active in their local areas. Now with over 400 accredited IFI Mark leisure centres scattered across the country, this could be the ideal time to begin your active lifestyle. Using a gym can be more than keeping fit. Being physically active can be and is a lifestyle choice for many disabled people. There is evidence that regular exercise can provide social and personal benefits, as well as improving physical and mental health. For over 10 years, EFDS has delivered the IFI Mark. This is the health and fitness sector’s national accreditation scheme for providing an inclusive and accessible service. IFI has made a notable difference to disabled people and the fitness industry. It has helped to increase the number of IFI Mark facilities available nationally, boosting opportunities for disabled people to be active. EFDS has also produced resources for providers and shared a wealth of good practice across the country. The IFI Mark addresses the physical access of the building, accessible fitness equipment, customer service training and exercise programming, as well as marketing to disabled people. Any gym can apply for the IFI Mark - whether publicly or privately owned. IFI Mark facilities are inclusive and welcoming and EFDS are committed to encouraging as many disabled people as possible to get active. You can find an IFI leisure centre near you on the EFDS website, www.efds.co.uk. If you are a facility or equipment supplier looking to find out more about the IFI Mark, you can contact the Inclusive Fitness team on email@example.com or call 01509 227750. ■
What makes an accredited facility more accessible to disabled people? → Facility workforce completes a customer services course designed to empower staff with more information on disability equality as well as better practices. → Once your gym induction is complete and you have an understanding of how everything works, you can enjoy a personalised fitness programme, written by one of the fitness instructors at the facility. → Instructors are qualified to ensure adequate knowledge about appropriate exercise supervision and selection for a variety of users. Programmes in alternative formats will be available upon request. → After six - eight weeks, most users will be ready to re-evaluate their fitness programme. The facility will support you to assess your goals and get you even more motivated to achieve them. It is also an opportunity for a new challenge, to use new equipment and check your techniques are correct to get the most out of your workout. → Each IFI Mark accredited facility provides a ‘minimum package’ of fitness equipment. This selection of equipment ensures that a user, regardless of their disability or impairment, will be able to have a full body workout. The minimum package consists of a treadmill, upright or recumbent bike, an upper body ergometer, leg curl, leg extension or leg press and a multi-station, as well as a range of small equipment such as hand weights, squeeze balls and stretch bands.
No matter what your age or ability, IFI Mark facilities will ensure you can acheive a full body workout
| 15 18/04/2016 09:23
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IT’S TIME TO TEE OFF WITH FIVE-YEAR-OLD TOMMY MORRISSEY
| 17 17/04/2016 21:41
uccess in golf depends less on strength of body, more on strength of mind and character”. Arnold Palmer gave all would-be golfers wise words to live by. Think on them before next arrogantly swaggering to the tee to watch the ball bow under sheer brute strength. A powerful swing is not the most important thing to emerge from the locker room with. A warm optimism for the game ahead. A game in the sport you love. A certain five-year-old could teach the most proficient of golfers a lesson in humility of spirit. Tommy Morrissey, due to an in utero blood clot, was born with a partial right arm and is already driving his way into a potentially professional career, surpassing peers and expectations alike. We spoke to Tommy’s dad, Joe Morrissey, who couldn’t be prouder of his son’s natural ability and outlook on the sport and on life. “We watch golf every weekend as a family. At around 14-months-old, while watching golf, he hopped off the couch and imitated the players on TV. My wife and I looked at each other and said ‘that’s pretty good!’ “He’s always been so eager to play. One night, when Tommy was around two years old, I walked into his room and found 10 of my clubs he had dragged into his crib. “If he knew I was going to play golf without him, he would cry. Shortly after we found him with my clubs, I walked into his bedroom and found him watching my wife’s iPad. I asked him what he was doing and he coolly said ‘getting a golf lesson from Tiger Woods’.”
IF HE KNEW I WAS GOING TO PLAY GOLF WITHOUT HIM, HE WOULD CRY Joe explained that Tommy was born with a competitive fire that you just cannot teach. He has a true passion for the game and winning. Tommy knows the game, swings and can answer trivia about past winners. The game of golf has given Tommy self-confidence, leadership and maturity that will be a part of his entire life. Joe and his wife owe the game
a tremendous debt for instilling life skills in their son that he can rely on throughout his future. Tommy has had the incredible fortune to either meet, hit balls or play golf with Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Rory McIllroy, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Zach Johnson and Webb Simpson. These players and icons have taken time to meet and spend time with Tommy. An absolute privilege and event that has given Tommy true inspiration. One of Tommy’s greatest memories is Ricky Fowler grabbing Tommy out of the crowd at The PGA Championship and invited him to walk with his foursome on Practice Day that included Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas. He also loved Bubba Watson for having him and his parents in his home and playing golf with him at Isleworth. Joe also said: “His game improves monthly. It is amazing the differences I see in his game and ‘golf intelligence’. Bridgestone measured his ‘smash factor’ and found his ability to hit the ball in the centre of the club face uncanny. He has all-around game. Recently, I see tremendous growth in his short game. Tommy devised, on his own, a method of chipping to stabilise the club and account for using one arm. He anchor’s ‘Nemo’, (nickname for his short arm) to the club and gains tremendous stability and club control. “He says his favourite courses are The Bear’s Club (he has never played, I think he just likes the name) or Fairmont St. Andrews and he looks forward to many games at both.” Tommy played several competitive events in
the three to four age division and won every tournament. One event, he shot three under over three holes. His biggest achievement to date is winning the North Florida Pee Wee Championship. He wants to work on his short game and chipping. His long game is really good. He drives the ball consistently 90 yards but when he connects perfectly it is closer to over 115 yards, but it is always right down the middle. Tommy uses Golphin equipment. Golphin is a UK-based company focused on providing lightweight equipment for juniors. Golphin was a game changer for Tommy. The equipment is lightweight with an oversized club face. Tommy swings with one arm so club weight is critical and he had a difficult time finding the right equipment. Once Joe found Golphin, Tommy was able to swing the club rather than the club swinging him. Last year, at four years old, Tommy was able to hit out of deep pot bunkers in St. Andrews. Calum McPherson, the founder and CEO of Golphin said: “Tommy and his mum and dad, exemplify why learning golf is so lifeenhancing. Regardless of circumstances, Tommy lives his dream every day, hitting golf balls, learning new things, having fun, spending quality time with his parents and building life skills. He is a phenomenal role model to all kids, demonstrating that with the correct mind set and with his infectious smile, you can be all you want to be.” Joe beamed with pride as he recanted Tommy’s very early taste of international fame. He said: “We are very proud of our time spent reaching out to people all around the world. Tommy’s videos have been viewed by over 37 million people around the world. We have spoken with over 15,000 children, adults and veterans about being different and accepting different. We hope that we are giving back to society in our special way and helping others that have physical or mental differences. We encourage everyone to go out and be awesome!” ■
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sports-show.co.uk 18/04/2016 16:31
THE GOLDEN GIRL OF PARALYMPIC SPORT REVEALS ALL
t’s been a busy start to 2016 for champion Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, gracing our television screen, with an appearance on Question of Sport fresh from her success at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, which saw her bag three gold medals. “If you win a gold medal at the World Championships then you are definitely on the team for Rio, you’re definitely going on
that plane. There’s a lot of motivation there and it takes off a lot of pressure for 2016, just knowing that you’re on that plane, but there’s a little bit of pressure on now because you just want it so bad,” Hannah said. Her achievements haven’t been limited to the track though.
rather than your looks,” Hannah told.
In September 2012, Hannah Cockroft, MBE and Paralympic Champion was named FHM’s sexiest Paralympian.
“As a blonde with big boobs it’s even more difficult,” Hannah laughs.
“As a female athlete it is always so difficult to get people to see you for your athletic talent
In the same week Hannah had a much greater achievement, grabbing a double gold and breaking four Paralympic records in the wheelchair racing T34 100m and 200m at the London Paralympic Games.
Discussing her involvement with the Panache ‘My Role Model’ campaign, Hannah recalls having some understandable →
| 21 18/04/2016 13:13
ATHLETICS worries about the prospect of a photoshoot with the lingerie brand, but is ultimately proud of her involvement. “It was just a massive honour, I had so much fun doing it and it’s something different. We still hear about it, it’s still everywhere so it shows that, we’ve really made a difference with this campaign,” Hannah tells. “When I originally got the email it was a little bit like ‘oh, I don’t really know about this, I don’t really feel very confident.’ I didn’t want the pictures to be really inappropriate. I had so many questions and worries, but with every question or worry I had the team were more than willing to talk me
through it all. They sent me test shots of the pictures they’d be doing, just to show that everything they’d be doing would be very glamorous. “I kind of made the decision that actually, how many disabled women do you see modelling lingerie? Panache asking me directly was quite a big honour and a big opportunity, to change something in the market and show that actually, it’s alright to be a little bit different and that’s what the whole campaign was focused on. “There’s no women that look the same and everyone is different and everyone is imperfect in their own perfect way,
and that just makes everybody beautiful. “One of the most important things for me is you can be disabled and still be beautiful and sporty and feminine. I’m not just one personality, I’m 20 different people wrapped into one body and I think everyone is like that. It was nice to show a different side and show myself out of a tracksuit. “I remember, I decided then, I’m not going to do this as Hannah the athlete, I’m going to do this as Hannah the 22-year-old girl who happens to have a disability and I’m going to show you should be proud of what you’ve got.”
THE THING WITH PARALYMPIC SPORT IS, ONCE YOU’VE GOT YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR, IT OPENS UP THIS ENTIRE NEW WORLD 22
ATHLETICS And proud she should be, as Hannah has shown that sheer determination can get you to some amazing places. The young Paralympian’s passion is perhaps what saw her sporting career take off, when whilst at a mainstream school she strived to be included in sports. “My PE teacher heard of Harry; a boy at the next school who played wheelchair basketball, and invited his team into our school. More so that the other children could understand what it was like to be me, rather than for me to be able to join in. “But for me, it was my pathway into sport, I learnt what Paralympic sport was and
I learnt how much I loved it. I started in wheelchair basketball and played with a team for six years.“ After representing Yorkshire at the Sainsbury’s school games, Hannah was invited to a talent ID day, where she had her first ever taste of wheelchair racing, courtesy of Dr Ian Thompson, husband of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
DON’T QUIT DO IT
With Hannah’s commitment to sport, and tales of how important it was in growing her confidence, she was approached by Irwin Mitchell last year and is not only now sponsored by the serious injury lawyers, but is involved in their ‘Don’t Quit Do It’ campaign. Irwin Mitchell work with people who have a disability, or need rehabilitation. As part of their campaign they get their clients involved in sport and leisure activities and aim to show them that life can actually begin when they’re disabled. “I’ve been disabled since birth so I know no different, but I’ve done things that my friends and other 23-year-olds could only ever dream of doing, and I’ve done that because I’m disabled and I’ve gone out and said, ‘this isn’t going to stop me’. “For me, I found sport really helpful. I think sport is helpful for anybody. I use sport as ways to do my physiotherapy. Ask any disabled person and it is the bane of their life having to do all these exercises and my mum and dad went out of their way and did my exercises through dance lessons or
swimming lessons and I didn’t realise at the time, but I was making my body stronger, and making my disability that little less serious and that’s what Irwin Mitchell try and encourage through their whole idea of sport. “Sport is fun, and especially if you were sporty before your accident there is no reason to lose that personality trait. I think with the Paralympics in 2012 that this idea has been thrown out into the world and people truly believe that you can be disabled and still be really amazing at sport.” Hannah believes wholeheartedly in the campaign, as she goes on to explain how important she feels sport is in building some important life skills. “It’s a really important campaign I think, because it does send out that message and it also shows how much they support people with disabilities and just the idea that disabled people are equals and we are equal members of society, we can do anything we want and we can do anything we set our minds to really. “I definitely think sport is important because it helps to improve their disability, it helps to make our bodies stronger and it helps you to believe in yourself. It can help you with a lot of areas of life and you can learn a lot of really important skills like teamwork and communication and they’re all things that depending on what your accident is or was, you may have either lost or you may now struggle with and it can help you deal with those things, as well as at the same time enjoying what you’re doing.” ■
HANNAH COCKROFT FUN FACTS Hannah has a fear of fish: “If you’re eating fish, I don’t want to sit next to you, I don’t like goldfish, I don’t like fish in the sea, I don’t like aquariums, I don’t like the smell of fish.” Even if they’re on the TV Hannah will change the channel! Hannah is incredibly superstitious: “Before every race I have to paint my nails to match my kit or my chair, my chair has to be clean, I have to eat jelly and listen to ‘Skepta - Hold on’. Oh and I also have lucky underwear and socks!”
Hannah wanted to be a ballerina: “Not the most realistic of ambitions in my situation but my parents scoured the area for a dance class that would accept me. They eventually came across Dance 4 All, who allowed me to join their creative dance classes, where I stayed for 13 years of lessons, shows and hard work. The dance lessons helped greatly with my mobility and flexibility and were, in effect, an enjoyable form of physiotherapy as I was able to be among friends.”
magazine.co.uk | 23
THE ATHLETIC THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE BLADE
s the Paralympics draw ever closer, the hype and excitement all over the world is beginning to escalate.
In recent years, the realm of disability sport has only started to emerge as popular to the general public. London 2012 saw Channel 4 take the reins of broadcasting the international event and has been praised as fresh, different and massively beneficial for the profile of the Paralympics and Paralympians. Before, disabled athletes could only dream
of becoming as well-known as the Olympic stars who were household names. Now, branded ‘superhumans’ by ingenious marketers, sports enthusiasts and general viewers alike are increasingly interested in these supreme athletes. Para-sport has come such a long way from its humble beginnings, especially in the field of athletics. Straight from the imagination of past sci-fi writers, runners with lower limb deficiencies have been transformed into striking bionic beings that are able to successfully compete alongside able-bodied athletes at the peak of physical fitness. The reason behind these spectacular feats is the futuristic technology developed by a select few manufacturers. Running blades. Running blades were designed by American inventor and amputee Van Phillips in the 1970s and since then have developed massively. The first workable foot was made from carbon graphite but they are now made from carbon fibre making them much more durable. They now come in different shapes, sizes and customised colours.
Running blades aren’t daily-use artificial legs, they are specifically designed as an athletic prosthetic. According to Buisness Insider: “There’s no electronics or sensors or magnets for below the knee disabilities, just a simply-shaped spring that stores energy and uses it to propel the runner forward. “When the runner’s foot hits the ground, the blade compresses like a spring, storing potential energy. “Then it rebounds to push the runner forward using 90% of the energy generated by a runner’s stride.” LiveScience also says: “Amputee runners have to use a whole different set of muscles to move around the track. Runners have to use their core muscles to turn, whereas able-bodied runners just pivot their ankles to turn. “So while the prostheses are custom-built for each runner, the mechanism that they use is rather simple.” The international prosthetics company, Ottobock’s Ken Hurst, the Ottobock Academy Manager explained how their running blade is made. He said: “Ottobock’s 1E90 Sprinter blade is made from 80 layers of carbon fibre, each thinner than a →
magazine.co.uk | 25
human hair. It is created with a lightweight and durable carbon spring which gives the user an easy and powerful ‘lift-off’ from a secure foot strike. It can be used by both above and below-knee amputees and has been designed to be fitted with a prosthetic knee such as the 3S80, the only sports prosthesis developed for above-knee amputees. “Blades work like a spring. They store kinetic energy from the user’s step which then provides a powerful ‘lift-off’ from a secure foot strike allowing the user to run or jump. “Each blade is customised to fit the individual’s personal need and is finely tuned specifically to that person according to calculations around their height and weight. You would therefore be hard pressed to find two the same.” Ottobock’s running blade is a technologically advanced carbon composite blade. The carbon fibre from which the blade is made is extremely
durable as well as flexible; this is why it is able to withstand the demands of highspeed running. “The blade can be made in six different stiffness levels to provide the precise blend of dynamic performance for the user’s personal running style,” continued Ken. “There is a choice of different soles which provide more versatility and performance to the prosthesis. The all-terrain tread provides just the right amount of grip for a variety of running surfaces while the spiked tread is designed specifically for use on a track. “In fact, Ottobock was chosen to exhibit the pioneering 1E90 Sprinter blade by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for its innovative carbon fibre construction. The blade demonstrates how this material can be used to create something which has benefited both the sporting and mobility industry for many years. The exhibition at the IET Savoy Place, London, is open to the public from 15
January 2016 for 12 months.” Andy Lewis has always enjoyed running, but after his accident which resulted in him having his leg amputated he found it difficult to get the necessary equipment he needed to run and so shelved the idea. Then came the 2012 Paralympics, Andy saw the athletes with their running blades and it sparked his love for running once more. He is now in training as a triathlete and is hoping to compete at the 2016 Paralympics. Andy quickly revived his love for fitness and running. Andy therefore needed a prosthetic leg which could withstand the wear and tear involved with running and invested in an Ottobock 3S80 knee joint; a hydraulic knee specifically designed to meet the needs of high speed running. It combines with a 1E90 Sprinter Foot that is able to withstand the impact of running due to a durable carbon spring. The Ottobock 3S80 which Andy uses for running is the only sport and fitness knee
Andy Lewis uses the Ottobock 3S80 which is the only sport and fitness knee joint for above-knee amputees
joint designed for above-knee amputees.
legacy in action’.
Andy believes this to be the best on the market. It enables users to run on a variety of terrain, from sand to track, giving them the freedom to run how they want, where they want.
Chancellor, George Osbourne, promised that the programme, to be run by the National Health Service, will provide activity prostheses for children and fund new research.
Andy’s current focus is on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Once he achieves his goal of winning a medal, he plans to start his own mini Tri Stars for other disabled adults and children so they too can realise their true potential.
£50,000 will be spent on new ‘child sports prostheses’ to allow 500 children with lower limb differences to run. A further £1million will fund development of new forms of prostheses within the industry, such as 3D printing.
The British Government are also set to invest £1.5million to provide running blades for hundreds of disabled children. It has been described as ‘the London 2012 Paralympic
Forget your trainers; get your blades on! www.ottobock.co.uk ■
BLADES WORK LIKE A SPRING. THEY STORE KINETIC ENERGY FROM THE USER’S STEP WHICH THEN PROVIDES A POWERFUL ‘LIFT-OFF’ FROM A SECURE FOOT STRIKE ALLOWING THE USER TO RUN OR JUMP
magazine.co.uk | 27
ALLIANZ WANTS TO HELP CREATE A BETTER WORLD FOR DISABLED PEOPLE, AND WE’RE BACKING OUR ATHLETES ON THE ROAD TO RIO The inside track on Allianz
About Allianz Insurance
Here at Allianz Insurance, we believe it’s important to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. We embrace people’s differences as it helps us to find the best talent. Employing people from different backgrounds and making them feel included is, in our view, a major driving force behind the existing success of our global company In 2015, we were granted the Two Ticks accreditation which recognises the good things that we already do in terms of employing and supporting disabled people, while challenging us to improve even further.
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK. We’re also part of the Allianz SE Group, one of the leading financial services providers worldwide and the largest property and casualty insurer in the world.
We’re now proud to be an official partner of the ParalympicsGB team and the British Paralympic Association. Globally, Allianz was one of the first worldwide partners of the International Paralympic Committee – and Allianz will be supporting more nations’ Paralympic teams at the Rio Games than any other company. These partnerships signal Allianz’s commitment to inclusivity across both its customers and employees – and recognise that Paralympic sport inspires us to create a better world for disabled people. For our customers, we recently became the first insurer in the UK to offer a secure video relay service to Deaf people using British Sign Language (BSL). This enables our Deaf customers to make a video call to Allianz using a free link on our website or SignVideo mobile app. Our customers who use BSL can take control of their own policy - rather than talking to us through a friend or family member.
Employing over 5,000 people in the UK in a network of 25 offices (head offices in Guildford and London), with a further 1,100 people based in Trivandrum, India, Allianz offers a wide range of opportunities – from sales and marketing to finance and IT.
Why work in insurance? Insurance is something that we all hope we’ll never require, but is essential in times of need. If floods damage your car or home, or your family pet gets ill, it makes a huge difference knowing you have insurance from a company that will make sure you have the right resources and support when you need it. In 2014, Allianz was awarded General Insurer of the Decade at the British Insurance Awards. We were recognised for consistent profitable growth, our commitment to training, professionalism in the industry, as well as innovation. In 2015 alone, we won 15 independent awards, reflecting our commitment to technical expertise and our focus on the customer and our employees.
Get behind ParalympicsGB on the road to Rio
12/21/15 3:49 PM
Allianz believes it is the experts and enthusiasts we recruit who deliver our ongoing successful growth. So, we invest in our people to ensure they have the training, experience and opportunities they need to achieve personal ambitions, as well as deliver for our customers. As a result, we are a company that our clients and partners recommend. We are working hard to create a diverse workforce by proactively recruiting and including employees with disabilities. Here are few words from two of our employees – you can find their full profiles on our careers site. David Fox - Senior Claims Handler “I have had cerebral palsy since birth. It doesn’t really affect my work, since I’m office-based. I joined Allianz in March 2013 as a Claims Handler and I’m now a Senior Claims Handler. Everyone has always been very supportive. I am not treated differently and I have never felt excluded. The assumption has always seemed to be that I can do things, rather than the other way round!”
Benefits for you
Whether you’re looking to build on existing qualifications in your chosen field or need a more flexible way to work in a fulfilling role, Allianz has a range of opportunities. We provide an award-winning range of training, recognised in 2015 by Investors in People (IIP) with gold-level accreditation. From eLearning and formal qualifications through to mentoring and volunteering, there are many ways you can develop throughout your career at Allianz. Topics cover everything from happiness at work, through to lateral thinking and management development. Allianz also runs industry-leading graduate schemes, including finance, IT, commercial and management. These combine practical work experience with support to gain relevant external qualifications - such as from the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Find out more
You don’t have to have an insurance background to work at Allianz. We recruit people based on ability, no matter what their background or personal circumstances. We simply believe that to achieve our business goals, we need people who will drive innovation and introduce new ideas – delivering outstanding service for current and potential customers. Allianz is committed to making reasonable adjustments as required during the application/interview process and/or once in post. If you’re interested in joining us, visit the careers section of our website: www.allianz.co.uk/careers where you can search for vacancies by location and specialism; or www.allianz.co.uk/graduates for further information about graduate and internship programmes.
Insurance from A-Z
12/21/15 3:49 PM
LIBBY CLEGG IS ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC VISUALLYIMPAIRED SPRINTERS PARALYMPICSGB HAS TO OFFER. ONTRACK FINDS OUT WHAT MAKES THIS EXCEPTIONAL PARA-ATHLETE TICK…
first started running when I was nine, when I joined my local athletics club. I did lots of different events, I had a go at everything, like throwing events, etc. It basically coincided with me getting diagnosed with my condition, Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy giving me only slight peripheral vision in my left eye. I only just joined this running club and got diagnosed. I just loved to be competitive to be honest. I liked winning, obviously. I used to really enjoy sports day at school and it was a sort of easy progression for me. I was about 14 when I started taking it more seriously and went to some bigger competitions. I was never really particularly talented, I was just one of those people that trained all the time, I loved the competition side of things but I quite enjoyed training as well. I just persisted at it. It wasn’t until I was
16, I got selected for my first senior championships that I thought it was potentially something I was going to get into. It was one of those things that you think you are alright at, but you never really believe until you get selected for a team that you realise you are potentially capable of it. I really enjoy the quickness of sprinting. It’s a very close race, there aren’t as much tactics required as there is in longer distance running. I really enjoyed the exhilaration of the race being that close. It’s basically anyone’s, anyone can win it. I quite like that aspect of it. I think that’s probably what drew me to it.
Insurance from A-Z
I’ve recently started running with a new guide, which is going really well and I am
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really enjoying it. I’m really positive about that. His name is Chris Clarke. That’s been quite exciting, it’s a big change for me. He has taken to it really well, he picked it up really quickly, I’m really happy. It’s very new, but exciting because it is a big year. I felt like I needed to change a few things.
I normally get to training at about 10.30am. I go to the track on Monday morning for a technical session. It will be like drills and block work. I’ll go home and get my lunch, have a few hours rest, have my dinner at 5.00pm and go back to training at 6.30pm and do a circuit session and a couple of runs. Then it all finishes at about 8.30pm and I’ll have some more porridge and some yoghurt, then head to bed. My sporting hero is Richard Whitehead. I trained with him for a bit, I go to the same gym as him, so I see him train. I think he is →
IPC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – ASSEN 200M – SILVER
WORLD CUP – MANCHESTER 200M – BRONZE 100M – GOLD
IPC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – CHRISTCHRUCH 200M – BRONZE 100M – GOLD WORLD GAMES – ANTALYA 200M – GOLD 100M – SILVER WORLD CUP – MANCHESTER 200M – SILVER 100M – BRONZE
2006 2008 2009 2010 2011 PARALYMPICS – BEIJING 100M – SILVER
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WORLD CUP – MANCHESTER 100M – GOLD magazine.co.uk
| 31 17/04/2016 21:52
IPC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – LYON 200M – SILVER 200M – SILVER SCOTTISH ATHLETICS AWARDS PARA-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
OUT DUE TO INJURY
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 PARALYMPICS – LONDON 100M – SILVER WORLD CUP – MANCHESTER 200M – SILVER EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – STADSKANAAL 200M – GOLD 100M – GOLD SCOTTISH ATHLETICS AWARDS PARA-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
COMMONWEALTH GAMES – GLASGOW 100M - GOLD
I WAS SO EXCITED WHEN I WENT TO THE PARALYMPICS, THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING THERE WAS JUST AMAZING
really inspirational because he is constantly beating the boundaries, breaking them down, challenging himself constantly. He is someone I really look up to.
Obviously, para-sport has come a long way from Beijing in 2008, from my point of view, that being my first Games. I was so excited when I went to the Paralympics, the
experience of being there was just amazing and we were treated really well over there. It was sad when we got back, people didn’t even really know we were over there. People didn’t really care because it wasn’t really a big deal in the media. The coverage wasn’t great. Going into 2012, I was quite sceptical to be honest, I thought, no way, we aren’t quite there yet with promoting Paralympic sport. I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen. Channel 4 put a lot of work into the Paralympics. They had a lot of
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE, WATCH THIS SPACE!
documentaries on disability and Paralympic athletes going into the Games. I do feel people felt they were more relatable then. People were interested. I was still sceptical in the village. When you are in the village, you are in a bubble, you don’t really hear what’s going on. It wasn’t until people started winning medals, people started realising it was a big deal and became interested. I think programmes like The Last Leg highlighted disability in a positive light. People really did appreciate that it is elite sport and elite performances. It opened my eyes as well, even for me, watching the boccia guys and wheelchair basketball was amazing. Brazil have put a lot of money into their para-athletes, especially athletics, they have all these fantastic role models coming through and only a few years ago in 2013 or the World Championships, France had billboards everywhere with all their para-athletes on them, promoting events. I’m really positive that it will be a fantastic Games. I think that the Paralympics could possibly outshine the Olympics especially with being in Brazil because they have a lot of phenomenal para-athletes. I think it is excellent for all the South American countries and you will notice that more para-athletes are coming through from those countries. I think after being in London, our home Games, it has really helped because we are such a forwardthinking nation. I think it’s been brilliant for the Games. Channel 4 have got to broadcast again, like in 2012, I think the coverage can only get better. The public will become Insurance from A-Z more interested once they see more of it on television. ■
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HAVE YOU TRIED...
HAVE YOU TRIED... ? L
ooking for the newest sporting craze? How about rugby mixed with track cycling and put it on four tiny wheels? As crazy as it sounds, there is a sport out there ticking all those boxes. Subtract the ball and the lycra® and you have roller derby. The grittiest sport to hit the female athlete scene has been rapidly gaining popularity since its inception in the early twentieth century. Roller derby is played on quad roller skates by two teams. It is set on an oval track and games are split into two minute ‘jams’. Each jam has five players from each team on the track and these players consist of four blockers and a jammer. The blockers play both offence and defence at the same time to get their jammer through the ‘pack’ whilst trying to prevent the opposing jammer from getting through. “Sounds great, OnTrack! How do I get involved?” There are now over 90 roller derby teams across the UK, to find your local team you can visit ukrda.org.uk/member-leagues. Each league has its own rules regarding intake of ‘fresh meat’ (new players) but individual league websites are the best place to start if you’re keen to join in, or just go along for a look.
SKATER PROFILE Jenny Wells from Dumfries, who lives with severe hearing loss, is being empowered by roller derby. The 24-year-old has appeared on the television programme, Fixers, promoting deaf and hard of hearing players in the sport. Jenny said: “The roller derby community is probably what I love most about this sport. I'm always in awe that a pair of skates connects me with people from all over the world. I've never felt alone in this sport, there's always someone there to help you - whether it be a teammate or a stranger from another continent. We help each other so fiercely and I always feel so safe in this sport. “I was born with a genetic hearing loss. My mum and little brother are both profoundly deaf with cochlear implants and I have severe hearing loss and wear two aids and use lip reading to help me. “My hearing loss, up until recently, always completely defined me. I let it hold me back even if others were pushing me forwards. I felt because I was deaf I couldn't be normal. I was disabled and that's all I ever saw myself as, disabled. It's been a very tiring but liberating journey
being able to overcome all my fears and doubts about myself and my hearing and to learn to love my hearing loss. I'm so fiercely proud of my hearing aids now and love that it's a part of me.
“Roller derby is an incredibly difficult sport to play as a deaf person. The sport is dominated by whistles and is a struggle to keep up with. The past few months I've become more comfortable and confident in the sport which is partly due to finding alternative methods of communication on the track and being so open about my hearing has helped too. The roller derby community has been wonderful at trying to make this sport more inclusive to those with a hearing loss. The majority of my confidence with my hearing loss is all down to my teammates and the support they've given me. “In future, I strive to help anyone with a hearing loss join this sport and feel like they belong. I don't want anyone to ever struggle or feel left out. This is being done with constant motivational posts on my Firefoxx page, filming with Fixers, releasing interviews and trying to be a positive role model in this sport.”
Because it is a full-contact sport and you need to whizz around the track on eight (count them!) wheels, those with certain physical disabilities may not be able to get involved, but it is certainly not a sport that excludes those with disabilities and makes sure there are ways to get involved, many skaters are even deaf or hard of hearing for example.
HAVE YOU TRIED...
SKATING BY NUMBERS:
The first roller derby bout is played, in Chicago, Illinois
14 [people] - in a team
[members] - per team in each ‘jam’ [points] - for every time you lap the other teams jammer
[minutes] - the length of time per ‘jam’
The minimum age you have to be to join this full-contact sport
[feet] - ahead or behind the pack is the boundary for ‘blocking’ [weeks] - the length of time it takes on average to learn how to skate magazine.co.uk
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MEET THE 24-YEAR-OLD SPLASHING INTO THE PARALYMPICSGB ROWING TEAM
ot many people can boast a double gold in their first two years of partaking in a sport, but after impressing coaches at a SportsFest event in late 2013, 24-year-old Grace Clough has done just that. “Its still feels a bit crazy,” Grace says. After seeing a series of nationwide sporting events advertised on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Grace attended one in her hometown of Sheffield. SportsFest is a yearly series of free events all over the country, delivered by the British Paralympic Association, to give disabled people the opportunity to try out different Paralympic sports. “I didn’t think I would be very good at rowing with an upper body disability so I tried lots of sports throughout the day, but by the time I got home rowing had already emailed me about trying to get classified for the sport and invited me down to do a talent assessment day,” Grace said. From there, Grace went to the home of British rowing in Caversham for an assessment, following which she was invited to visit the performance squad
in Nottingham, where her talents were recognised, seeing her fast-tracked onto the team and taken over to the boot camp in Spain. “I turned up at the airport for the camp and that was the day I realised I’d chosen my future sport.” “Turning up at Caversham in itself felt a bit crazy. I was where the GB rowing team train and yet I didn’t feel confident that I could row and I couldn’t talk the lingo, I didn’t know what people were talking about.” Fitting in is of no concern to her now as she speaks confidently about the upcoming final trials and how the SAS data has helped her hectic training schedule in the run up to Rio. “Our final trials are in a few weeks time, so it’s a bit of a nervous time for the people trialling for the boat. “You’ve just to be confident in your own ability though and your own performance because that’s part of the challenge. “The data collected by SAS had a big
impact for me to begin with, I didn’t know what was a good score to be sitting on or what was a good split to be holding, so the coach having a lot of data from some of the previous athletes really helped me understand where I should be and where I should get to. “The data on the water and in the weights room in particular helps, the assessment coach will give us targets to hit. It’s all scientifically done so that you’re not lifting too much to injure yourself, but still pushing on. “ Grace ultimately puts her fortune down to attending the SportsFest event. “I think events like this are key to getting new talent into sport. I would encourage anyone who does have a disability to attend those events because that one day has changed the last two and a half years of my life.” Grace Clough was speaking on behalf of SAS – the leader in analytics software and services. SAS is the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team at www.sas.com. ■
magazine.co.uk | 37
Ian Marsden MASTER OF ALL SPORTS
ot many people can boast that they are so talented that they have competed at an international level for their country in four, vastly different, sports.
A prestigious and widely-decorated player in British and European Powerlifting, Ian sustained a spinal injury and consequently became a wheelchair user. However, he was not finished with the sporting world, not by a long shot.
Ian Marsden can.
Ian then became a major, record-breaking figure in the European Handcycling Circuit for over seven years, racing internationally for a Czech-based team, featuring Paralympic gold medallist, Marcel Pipeck. In 2010, Ian was taken to hospital with a suspected prolapsed neck. However, the diagnosis came as a shock when he was told that he had a rare motor neurone condition that affected his legs, arms and brain.
He is the very definition of a multi-skilled athlete. The busy father has represented Great Britain many times and is keen to keep going. After being told he was no good at sports as a child, Ian was eager to work hard and prove everyone wrong. That he did. Ian has internationally competed as a member of the GB Powerlifting team, as an able bodied athlete, raced for a Czech-based handcycling team, been a GB representative for shooting and a ParalympicsGB Para-Canoe team member. This impressive list is also set to expand as Ian isn’t close to being finished as one of sports’ true heroes.
shooting. Ian’s talent was apparent from the beginning and he was noticed by the GB Paralympic Team where he again competently represented his country in 2012.
After surgery on his neck and having metal plates and a carbon cage inserted to rebuild the damage to the cervical spine, he retired from competitive handcycling due to the loss of muscle power in his arms.
Whilst in his shooting career, Ian was asked to try Para-Canoeing. Ian said: “I had an interest in canoeing when I was a child, as I remember my cousin doing canoeing when we lived next door to each other, but I never got the chance to have a go. But that changed many years later. My friend kept asking me to come and have a try at canoeing as his club was only two miles away in Trentham, Staffordshire. Canoeing was announced as a new Paralympic sport for Rio 2016 and because of this a talent ID selection day was arranged in Nottingham. I was talked into attending the talent day and after performing several physical tests I was selected to attend training camps in Nottingham and it all started from then.
That’s when he decided to concentrate on
“Canoeing professionally was not straight →
CANOEING forward, as I had a full time job and family. My first race season did not go to plan as I was not selected to represent Great Britain, so I had to race in local regattas in Nottingham for the first season. When I did get selected for my first Europeans in Portugal, I won silver, and following that I won silver at the World Championships in 2013. After I had done a couple of years in the sport, I decided to give up work and train full time with the GB Para-Canoe team in Nottingham so I could pay all my attention to becoming better. “A typical day in my canoeing life would be as follows. As I live over an hour away from training, it’s always an early start, so I get up at 5:30am. I have my breakfast, pack my kit and food, then get my young kids up and drop them off at school. After arriving at Nottingham the first thing I do is warm up in the gym for the first water session. My warm up session takes about 40 minutes. Then I make my way to the bay next to the lake where the boats are stored and start my second warm up session on the water. The warm up sessions are an important preparation for the main training ahead. After over an hour on the lake my first session is done and its then time for my meeting with my coach to go over previous sessions and video. This is followed by my physio session which helps me to keep my
body functioning and hopefully prevent any injury that could occur. It’s now time for my lunch giving me an opportunity to refuel and rest. The meeting, physio and lunch all have to fit between 12-1:30pm as its then time to warm up in the gym again for the second water session and back down to the bay ready to warm up on the water and on the start line again for the second water session. The training day can vary, depending if we are in the gym, on the water or doing both on the same day. This is repeated six days per week Monday to Saturday. “Preparation for the Rio Paralympics is well under way and training has stepped up another gear within the GB team. In January, the GB Para-Canoe team went to Brazil to attend a warm weather training camp. The aim of the camp was to allow us to train in warmer conditions and more importantly get used to the surroundings, climate, food and travel. This was a very important step towards our preparation on the road to Rio. After two weeks of hard training we travelled to Logao where the course is based and had a look around. It was very useful to have a look at the lake and take in the surroundings as we had only seen photos before. Rio is breathtaking, seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue looking down over the course where the Olympic and Paralympic
Games will take place for canoeing was amazing. As a place, I think canoeing has the most iconic location in the world and will look amazing on the television. “Para-Canoe has only just started and it’s already a big sport around the world, especially in Europe. Its future is safe as we head towards Rio in September. When the Paralympics start, I can see more people taking up canoeing post-Rio and more events will hopefully be added as it enters its second Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020. “In regards to my sporting future I would like to continue canoeing and representing Great Britain for as long as I physically can. After canoeing, I would like to try other sports and add to my list. I am interested in having a go at a winter sport and have been asked if I would like to try sailing, so watch this space!” ■
Ian Marsden won Sports Performer of the Year (Disability) 2015
I DECIDED TO GIVE UP WORK AND TRAIN FULL TIME WITH THE GB PARA-CANOE TEAM IN NOTTINGHAM SO I COULD PAY ALL MY ATTENTION TO BECOMING BETTER
magazine.co.uk | 39
MURDERBALL â€ŚAKA WHEELCHAIR RUGBY, THE ONLY FULL-CONTACT DISABILITY SPORT
The Game Wheelchair rugby is played in 25 countries throughout the world and is a fast pace, exciting, full-contact sport. It is played on a 28m long hardwood, indoor court, the same dimensions as a regulation basketball court. There are goal lines at each end of the court and two teams battle it out to win points by getting the ball over the oppositions goal line. A goal only counts if the player gets two wheels of their chair over the line while carrying the ball.
The RULES Players tend to carry the ball on their lap, but must bounce or pass the ball within 10 seconds when in possession. Physical contact between chairs is allowed, in fact it is a major part of the game. A player must have full control of the ball when they cross the line to score a goal â€“ this can be on their lap, in their hands, arms or even on their footrest. A goal gives you one point. A team is not allowed to have more than three players defending in their own key (area in front of the goal line) at any one time. Teams have 12 seconds to advance the ball from their back court (the end they are defending) into the front court (the attacking end) and a total of 40 seconds to score a point or concede possession.
The EQUIPMENT Players use a manual wheelchair that is adapted specifically for the game. The chair has front bumpers designed to strike and hold opposing chairs, and wings positioned in front of the main wheels to make it harder to stop and hold wheelchairs. They must have spoke protectors and an anti-tip device. The ball is a regulation volleyball, but is overinflated to give it more bounce. Players tend to use gloves or adhesive to increase grip on the ball and may use various strapping devices to secure their position in their chair.
The TEAM A team can be made up of both men and women. Each team can have up to 12 players, but only four are allowed on the court at any one time. Each player is given a points classification that ranges from 0.5 (the lowest functional level) to 3.5 (the highest functional level). The four athletes on the court must not exceed a total of eight points at any time.
The SPORT Wheelchair rugby, or murderball as it is affectionately known, is an increasingly popular sport among people with disabilities. It is aggressive and fast, and the only mixed gender and full-contact sport available to people with disabilities. The governing body is the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF), but if you are looking to give this sport a go contact Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) to find your nearest club. www.gbwr.org.uk
WE DISCOVER WHAT ONE OF SCOTLAND’S MOST ACCESSIBLE ACTIVITY CENTRES HAS TO OFFER
hen you’re tasked with talking about accessible water sports on a cold January morning at a frosty Scottish loch you don’t expect it to be the most exciting of conversations. But David Hill, senior instructor at Castle Semple in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park manages to make for lively chat, enthusiastically discussing his involvement in making Scotland’s largest regional park more accessible. Over the past five years David has strived to make the lochside activities accessible to all. David’s knowledge comes with a wide and varied base which he honed at the residential outdoor activities centre, Calvert Trust Kielder.
For a change of pace he adapted his knowledge to a centre where it was desperately needed. Castle Semple’s Visitor Centre had the bare bones of an accessible activity centre but David knew there was more that could be done. With several years hard work the centre has grown to become Scotland’s first Royal Yachting Association Sailability ‘Centre of Excellence’, as well as receiving five star reviews form Euan’s Guide. David said ‘if you build it, they will come’ and that has very much been the case with Castle Semple’s accessible activities which are reaching thousands of disabled sport lovers every year.
It is not just watersports that Semple provide. There are shedfuls of handcycles and trikes on offer. Based on the loch, Castle Semple is a hotbed for watersport lovers with several sailing groups situated there. At the centre you can partake in canoeing, kayaking and sailing, all of which are made accessible due to the specialist equipment which David often suggests to designers and manufacturers, Equal Adventurers. From slings to seat-pads and moving and handling equipment, David has worked with product designer and researcher Suresh Paul, to help Equal Adventures address even more gaps for equipment in sport for disabled people. Handcycles and trikes are on offer with local cycling club, Ride63. They even include handcycle trials at the Pedal in the Park event.
ACTIVITIES David and the rest of the team at Castle Semple Visitor Centre strive to make sure that the centre is not only accessible to all ages and abilities but affordable for all too. David said: “It’s all from funding applications that we’ve filled out. We have funding from ‘Awards for All’ which is affiliated with the National Lottery, Comic Relief and Children in Need to name but a few. “The equipment is certainly not cheap. The handcycles alone can cost upwards of £4000 and when people come to the centre we want to give them the whole experience. We usually work with groups who also apply for funding, some of which I have helped to fill out the paperwork. The centre can then remain free of charge to groups and organisations whose members want to try all of the activities with ease.” Castle Semple Visitor Centre is already bursting at the seams with people enquiring about fun-filled day trips. The team already host a mammoth 40-week programme for 11 local special needs schools. Every member of staff is expertly trained to help and coach visitors of all ages and abilities. All participants end the segment with experience and knowledge of different sports and equipment that can facilitate their inclusion in a physical activity. It isn’t just school children that can benefit from cycling and watersports. Erskine House, that homes hundreds of exservicemen and women in their twilight years, is also on the roster as regular clients of David and his team’s services. Although, stand up paddle boarding might be a stretch for older people, there are still plenty of things for them to get involved in. David said: “Powerboating is a favourite of veterans of Erskine House, we have two fully wheelchair-accessible powerboats that we are able to drive around the loch, one can sit up to six people and the significantly larger one can sit up to 10.” To contend with the growing demand for places and coaching there are plans for a new disability-friendly centre to be built along from the existing centre. David gestured to the new partially-built concrete pier: “It is still to be fitted with a speciality hoist to make the water activities even easier for our visitors. The new centre will definitely be able to keep up with this evergrowing demand that we gladly have on our hands.” ■
For more information call 01505 842 882 Ex 21 or visit www.clydemuirshiel.co.uk.
MORE If you are looking for a challenging and active outing for your children or the whole family, you will be pleased to know that there are several centres located throughout the UK. We have showcased a few here for you to consider.
CALVERT TRUST The popular residential activity centre has been a favourite destination of both nature lovers and sports enthusiasts, alike. The fully accessible, familyorientated getaway allows not only greater freedom to try an array of different activities but also the freedom to choose what they want to do with their days. With three centres spread throughout the country, the chance to visit Kielder, Lake District or Exmoor facilities is easier than ever, with 12,000 attendees a year proving that. To arrange your own break at any of the branches, visit www.calver-trust.org.uk.
AVON TYRRELL Another leading outdoor learning venue, Avon Tyrrell, focuses on young people’s development in ways that they wouldn’t necessarily concentrate on if they were in the classroom. In the heart of the New Forest National Park, they have a very unique and beautiful site with a Grade I
listed calendar house with a remarkable history, camping and lodges offering a special experience for all. Visit www.avontyrrell.org.uk to book some time away.
WOODLARKS Maybe camping is more your thing rather than regimented housing. At Woodlarks, there is a varied range of different camping styles for all tastes and capabilities. Throughout each summer this beautiful Surrey camp site offers week-long holidays to hundreds of disabled people, cared for by dedicated volunteer helpers. To book, visit www.woodlarks.org.uk.
PIONEER CENTRE Situated on the edge of the Wyre Forest, the Pioneer Centre is within easy reach of Birmingham and the national motorway network. Together with ACUK the Pioneer Centre has a combined experience of over 55 years in inspiring and motivating people, groups and organisations. Welcoming nearly 20,000 guests each year the 25-acre Canadian-themed site is perfect for school and youth adventure / training / curriculum residentials and conferences or group holidays. Visit www.acuk.net/pioneercentre to arrange a trip.
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Accessible Sport For You The National Disability Sports Organisations, English Federation of Disability Sport and Sport England are working together to support disabled people to be more active. There are eight National Disability Sports Organisations that provide people with specific impairments opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity. They’re a great starting point for many disabled people, offering advice, support and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy being active.
National Disability Sports Organisations
British Blind Sport
Cerebral Palsy Sport
British Blind Sport provides visually impaired (VI) people with the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity. They run a national event programme and number of ‘have a go’ days in a range sports for VI children and adults. British Blind Sport prides itself on ‘making a visible difference in sport’.
Cerebral Palsy Sport is the country’s leading sports organisation supporting people who have cerebral palsy to reach their potential. They provide advice and guidance on getting active, along with opportunities for people of all abilities to take part in sport.
Dwarf Sports Association UK
The Dwarf Sports Association UK aims to make regular sporting opportunities accessible and enjoyable to anyone of restricted growth. They promote and develop recreational and competitive sport and physical activity opportunities across the UK. www.dsauk.org
Special Olympics Great Britain
Mencap Sport believes that people with a learning disability should have the same opportunities to participate, enjoy and excel in sport at all levels. They deliver a number of national sports events and a fun physical activity challenge for local groups and individuals to take part in.
Special Olympics Great Britain provide a year-round sports programme , with opportunities for children and adults with a learning disability to participate, train and compete in a wide variety of sports and events. www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk
UK Deaf Sport
LimbPower supports amputees and people with limb impairments reach their sporting potential. The Charity aims to put each amputee and limb impaired person in touch with the right sport and leisure activity for their needs and ability.
UK Deaf Sport encourages people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate, enjoy and excel at sport. They provide information, advice and expertise to individuals and organisations to enable more deaf and hearing of hard people to reach their full potential in sport and physical activity.
WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, provides opportunities, facilities and equipment to enable disabled people to participate in sport and lead healthy active lives. They promote and deliver opportunities in recreational and competitive sport for people with a physical or locomotor impairment.
FRAME RICHARD SEEDHOUSE IS MAKING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
OOTBALL. The beautiful game. The national sport. You can’t take two steps anywhere in the country without seeing a team’s colours plastered on the backs of avid fans, or a heated discussion about that controversial penalty or spotting it on the phone screen of a commuter hoping and praying that four-three-three strategy pays off because the thought of losing to them at home is just too much. In rain or shine, every patch of greenery all over the nation is descended on by children with a tattered ball that has seen moments of glory, moments of defeat and many different sets of trainers over the years. Nothing is more heart-breaking than not being able to join in. This is where a deep resentment towards your own disability could rear its head that could set you down a dangerous path. But not while Richard Seedhouse is around. Richard is the organiser of Frame Football. He said: “The Frame Football Association are a volunteer group of football coaches and parents who have come together to form an Association with the goal of providing football tournaments, festivals and games for players who use walker style frames.
“We want pan disability clubs all across the country to start increasing participation for frame users and promote games and form real teams that are able to compete in our organised events all across the UK.” There are teams for three to 18-year-olds based all across the UK, including, London, Glasgow, Belfast, Coventry, Oldham, Nottingham and even have a new team just starting in Malta. Caroline Scothern from Nottingham is the very proud mum of eight year old Logan, who has cerebral palsy, has nothing but high praise for Frame Football. She said: “As a parent, I would say these kids go through daily physio stretching and strengthening exercises that, for once, let them enjoy the freedom of just being children. As far as I can see, there are so many benefits to playing frame footy and not just for the children, the parents love it too. Their smiles are as big as their child’s. “Logan now plays for the same football club, Rolls Royce Huchnall Under 18’s, as his big brother, Corey, and also some of his school friends, he wears the same kit and I truly believe that he feels no different. In his words
‘it’s a dream come true’. “Logan will never be as fast as his school friends but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be given the chance and opportunity to fulfil his dreams.” 13-year-old Callun Branch also has cerebral palsy, his dad, Steve, coaches the Basildon branch of Frame Football. Steve said: “I have a boy called Harry who, when he first started with us, could hardly stand for long let alone take part, but his dad has been amazing, never giving up on him. He got a knew set of splints fitted just before Christmas and it’s like we have a different child with us, lasting 50 minutes of a session now, standing up in his walker and scoring goals. The smile on his face says it all for me, such a big moment for his father and myself and all the parents to see him be included. Other parents have said their child’s lost weight, getting physically stronger and many more positive comments. “Anyone who wants to come along is welcome and would never be judged. Frame Football is so inspiring.” To find out if there is a team near you, email Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook site www.facebook.com/ FrameFootball. ■
magazine.co.uk | 45
BRITAIN 15 WORLD 00 B
ritain’s wheelchair tennis players continue to go from strength to strength, with recent Grand Slam titles for stars Jordanne Whiley, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne and World Team Cup successes raising the profile of the sport and enhancing Great Britain’s reputation as one of the most successful nations. This success has also been replicated in other versions of the sport with British players among the most dominant on the world stage in deaf and learning disability competitions. Whiley’s achievement in partnering Japan’s Yui Kamiji to win the women’s doubles at all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2014 saw the West Midlands-born player transcend disability sport and introduce wheelchair tennis to a whole new audience as she became the first Brit in any tennis discipline to achieve a calendar year Grand Slam. As Whiley and Kamiji completed their calendar year Grand Slam at the US Open, Lapthorne was also celebrating winning his maiden Grand Slam quad singles title in New York.
However, Whiley was not the only Brit to taste Grand Slam success in 2015, with Lapthorne starting the year by claiming his fourth Australian Open quad doubles title and Reid winning the first two Grand Slam doubles titles of his career at Roland Garros and the US Open. Last year was, of course, a landmark season for British Tennis, but prior to a first Davis Cup triumph for Great Britain in 79 years, Reid had already joined forces with Alfie Hewett, Marc McCarroll and David Phillipson to lead Great Britain to a first ever men’s World Group title at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the Davis and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis. The fact that 24-year-old Reid is a Scot brings obvious parallels with Andy and Jamie Murray, whose mum Judy is also a massive fan of wheelchair tennis. Reid was celebrated in the same sentences as the Murray brothers by the nation’s media in January this year, when he won his maiden singles title at the Australian Open.
I’VE WATCHED GORDON REID PLAY AND THE LEVEL WAS JUST FANTASTIC Andy Murray
Whiley used that success as the platform to make further history in 2015, when she won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open and earnt her first world number one women’s doubles ranking. It didn’t end there as she then became the first tennis player to be named Sunday Times and Sky Sports Disability Sportswoman of the Year.
GET INVOLVED Firmly behind the success of Britain’s wheelchair tennis players is the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity and the organisation that runs the Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme supported by UK Sport through National Lottery funding. The Tennis Foundation has long since supported Britain’s leading wheelchair, deaf and learning disability players and has a world class performance programme and defined pathway in each impairment group. The performance pathways are complemented by subsidised camps nationwide specifically for disabled people who are new to the sport, the camps being a vital part are of a wide-ranging development structure that also sees the Tennis Foundation support over 200 venues across the country to improve opportunities for disabled people to play tennis in their area.
Tennis offers all of these benefits along with the ability for integration at many levels. For instance, wheelchair players can easily play with friends, family and other players who play on their feet since the sport has a two bounce rule for wheelchair players and one bounce for non-disabled players. Of course, some people might just want to play for fun and for the joy of being active, but for those who want to take the sport further, the Tennis Foundation has an organised competition structure for wheelchair, deaf, learning disability and blind and partially sighted players, with the opportunity to pursue the sport to an elite level for those who so wish.
Beyond this there is an international wheelchair tennis tour of more than 140 tournaments around the world, with the sport integrated into all four Grand Slams since 2007 and, with Rio on the horizon this year; wheelchair tennis has been a full medal sport at the Paralympics since 1992. Similarly, there is also an international competition structure in deaf tennis and learning disability tennis. The Tennis
Foundation has a long history of hosting world class events for disabled people in the UK, with well-established wheelchair tennis events including the British Open in Nottingham and the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London. Last year, the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships were also held in Nottingham, with Great Britain’s Esah Hayat becoming the inaugural boys’ singles champion. The Tennis Foundation, in association with the UK Sports Association, has also recently been awarded the rights to host the seventh INAS World Tennis Championships, for elite para athletes with a learning disability, in Bolton in April 2017. Brits Fabrice Higgins and Thomas Mellor have established themselves among the very best learning disability tennis players in the world in recent years. For more information about the Tennis Foundation’s camps, opportunities to play tennis at a venue near you or other advice on getting started visit the Tennis Foundation website at www.tennisfoundation.org.uk or email email@example.com. ■
The purpose of the Tennis Foundation’s camps is to teach the basics of the game within an impairment specific setting, ideal for beginners who have never played before. LTA licenced tennis coaches lead each camp, which incorporates a day of fun activities, with follow-up advice about where to play on a more regular basis and opportunities for competition, starting with entry level competitions. While everybody’s life experiences are, of course, different, the reasons for doing any kind of leisure activity would hopefully involve a sense of enjoyment, fun, achievement and the chance to make new friends, while also improving or maintaining physical and mental well-being.
SPORTS CLUB EVERY ISSUE, ONTRACK MAGAZINE WILL TURN THE SPOTLIGHT TO OUR READERS. THIS IS WHERE YOUR SPORTS CLUB WILL GET A CHANCE TO SHOW THE NATION WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER AND WHAT MAKES YOUR PARTICULAR SPORTING GROUP HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE REST.
This issue, we focus on a thriving boccia club in Romford. Boccia is a precision ball-sport, not unlike bowls. The sport is contested at local, national and international levels, by athletes with physical disabilities. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other disabilities affecting motor skills. In 1984, it became a Paralympic sport and in 2008 was being practiced in over 50 countries worldwide. Lead coach of the Romford YMCA Boccia Club, Pat Tremain, talks about the sport, the club and what it does for the attendees.
WHO STARTED THE CLUB?
The club was started by Romford YMCA (now known as YMCA Thames Gateway) in about 2000 as part of their sportability programme. Members kept asking to play more and eventually it progressed into a full blown club with a team competing in national competitions.
WHY DID YOU START IT?
It was started to help and include members who were unable to access mainstream facilities or sports. Our facilities have always been accessible and we believed that, as well as a physical activity, boccia could be a social activity as well.
Boccia became more competitive and was slowly taking off in the UK as a sport as it was a full Paralympic sport.
HOW WAS IT RECEIVED?
Members received it very well and requested more sessions; we also get a lot of care centres bringing their clients to our sessions.
WHAT FEEDBACK HAVE YOU RECEIVED?
We get great feedback from people who participate and also from the local authority departments who visit us. We have three sessions per week that last between an hour and an hour and a half. We have also dedicated one session to the players who play at a national level to help them improve their game.
HOW DO YOU REFEREE THE CLUB?
The club is part of the activities that YMCA Thames Gateway run so does not have the usual club structure other clubs may have.
IS THERE A MOMENT YOU REMEMBER FONDLY?
Competing in the National Pan Disability Boccia competition for the first time. We first competed in the nationals 10 years ago. The first final we attended was at Nottingham University. The finals are now held in Sheffield. We came fourth, which is the highest we have ever come to date. It was an amazing experience. Since then we have competed in the nationals every year, apart from last year when we failed to get through. We are competing in the league stages at the moment. Fingers crossed we make it through to the finals! The first year was a massive learning curve for the team; but now with experience behind us we love it!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS THAT ARE THINKING OF JOINING?
Give it a go, it is so motivating and inclusive, anyone can play. We are well known in the boroughs of Havering and Barking and Dagenham for running boccia, we now run and host school competitions as well as competitions for the Lord Taverners.
Some of the regular attendees playing boccia at the club
A COUPLES GAME Husband and wife, Renee and Chris are regular attendees of the club. Renee plays often and her husband is also fully engaged with the sport:
HOW DO YOU PLAY BOCCIA?
You can play as an individual or as a team. Individual – you have two players with six balls each and it is the nearest to the ‘jack ball’ (target) that wins. Team – each team has three players and each player has two balls, there is a red team and a blue team. The red team throws the ‘jack ball’ first followed by their red ball, and then the blue team throw one ball. It’s the team furthest away that goes again until they are either nearest to the jack or all their balls have been thrown. The red team then throw all their balls until they have all gone. Points are awarded on the number of balls nearest the jack until an opponents are nearest.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE CLUB?
Renee: We saw a demonstration at another sports centre.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN?
Renee: Being quite badly disabled throughout my body, this was something I thought I could do.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE CLUB?
Chris: It is very friendly with some really good players, who are at national event standard.
WHAT IS A PARTICULAR MOMENT IN THE CLUB YOU REMEMBER FONDLY?
Renee: About three years ago, I was part of the team that came fourth in the national competition.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS THAT ARE THINKING OF JOINING?
Renee: Simple answer - join and enjoy! Boccia gives me beneficial exercise and great enjoyment, especially if I - or we - win!
To join YMCA Romford Boccia Club the sessions run on: Monday 10.30am – 12noon Tuesday 11.30am – 1.00pm Thursday 10.45am – 11.45am Alternatively, you can phone 01708 766211 or visit www.ymcatg.org. The club can be found at Rush Green Road, Romford, Essex RM7 0PH. For a chance to highlight your sports club, please send a short summary and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
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