AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 | ISSUE 3
THE FUTURE OF FITNESS
SUMMER OF SPORT HEALTHY LIVING WHATâ€™S IN YOUR LUNCHBOX?
> From the Anniversary Games to Rio 2016, our athletes take centre stage
> DISABILITY CRICKET > ROB OLIVER'S PARALYMPIC DEBUT > EVER TRIED SKYDIVING? 01_Cover_OT_0816_KW.indd 1
WELCOME AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 | ISSUE 3
he summer of sport is finally upon us. The OnTrack offices have been abuzz with anticipation for the forthcoming Paralympic Games in Rio and we have had the Superhumans trailer playing on repeat ever since it was released. It is time for our athletes to shine once again on the world stage, proudly sporting their new Stella McCartney-designed kit and eagerly awaiting their moments of glory. Channel 4 have done another spectacular job of building excitement in the run up to the Games and the trailer they have created has successfully showcased the elite athletes alongside everyday people with disabilities doing everyday things. Hopefully, the excitement surrounding the Paralympic Games will translate to even more understanding within society of people living with disabilities. We will be keeping you up-to-date with all the goings on in Rio via Twitter @OnTrack_Mag and at www.ontrackmagazine.co.uk, so be sure to follow us for regular updates!
If you want to embrace the daredevil in you, why not try skydiving? We bring you everything you need to know about this thrilling pastime on page 38. If water sports are more your style, why not give surfing a go? Many people would dismiss surfing as an inaccessible sport, but we dispel this myth as we speak to The Wave Project and Surfability about the support they can provide people of all abilities, check out page 35. Of course, we had to acknowledge the historical win of Gordon Reid in the first ever men’s wheelchair tennis singles event at Wimbledon last month. The British wheelchair tennis players all made their mark during the course of the event and we are sure that the singles events will remain on the roster at Wimbledon going forward. We hope you enjoy this issue of OnTrack and your summer of sport, we would also love to hear your own sporting stories, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch, drop me an email on email@example.com.
This issue also looks at the opportunities within cricket. We spoke to the Lord’s Taverners, one of the leading sports charities, to discover more about cricket, it’s inclusivity as a sport and the competition levels that you can reach as a player. If you fancy yourself the next Freddie Flintoff, turn to page 23. Editor
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Cover image is of Jonnie Peacock running in the Müller Anniversary Games 2016 © Mark Davidson
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CONTENTS AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016
THE INSIDE TRACK
STRAIGHT OFF THE BAT
WHAT’S IN YOUR LUNCHBOX?
GOING THE DISTANCE
TURNING THE TABLES
Whether you’re a Paralympic veteran or a newbie to the Games, our continued round up will get you up to speed
Keeping you up to date with all the current sports news
Give your lunchbox a makeover with these healthy alternatives
We catch up with the Paralympic hopeful as para-canoe makes its debut
The Lord’s Taverner’s talk wickets and their accessible cricket championships
One man tackles the Great Wall of China
From player to coach, Harry Fairchild shares his story
The latest gadgets to up your game
We explore accessible surfing with Surfability and The Wave Project
HAVE YOU TRIED…?
SPORTS CLUB FOCUS
Don’t let gravity get you down, why not try skydiving?
London’s Paralympic heroes return before this summer’s Games
GB's top players made their mark at this historical event
Hitting the target for accessibility in sport
We speak to Red Star Athletics, the club churning out champions magazine.co.uk
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THE INSIDE TRACK Keeping you up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of disability sport
BLADE BOY RIO FIRST IN UK WITH JUNIOR RUNNING BLADE
Eight-year-old Rio Woolf is the first in the UK and Ireland to be fitted by Dorset Orthopaedic with the 1E93 Runner Junior; a new junior running blade from Ottobock. Keen to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, Jonnie Peacock, Richard Whitehead and Alan Fonteles Oliveira, he hopes to one day take part in the Paralympics. With his new Runner Junior blade, Rio will be able to perfect his running technique and work towards his dream. Rio said: “I’m so excited to get my new running blade - it’s going to be super-amazing and it will help me to run even faster on the track and in the playground and I’ll be even quicker on the tennis court and on the football pitch so I’ll be able to score more goals! It’s super-cool to have a bendy blade for the first time which means I will be able to run better than I ever have before!” Known for its pioneering mobility solutions, Ottobock have designed a carbon fibre running blade suitable for active children up to the age of approximately 13 years or to a maximum weight of 45kg. The blade is lightweight and robust providing a powerful drive and a stable turning point. It has been coupled with an all-terrain, anti-skid sole that allows for running on different terrains. Rio’s mother Juliette Woolf said: “We’re so happy that Rio is finally tall enough to be fitted with a knee-jointed running blade. He’s adapted so well and so quickly to this new more natural style of running. “His new Ottobock blade has not only greatly improved his running technique in just a few test runs at Dorset Orthopaedic, but it’s also reassuring for us, as parents, to know that the knee-jointed blade gives our son the best chance of keeping his hips healthy and strong for the future by reducing the impact on them.
There’s 140 disabled people included in the Superhumans trailer which is more than have ever appeared in ads in British history
“It’s a huge honour for Rio to be the first in the UK and Ireland and the youngest child to be fitted with Ottobock’s new junior running blade and we’re extremely grateful to Ottobock and to Dorset Orthopaedic for all their support for Rio. They have not just enabled Rio but have actually empowered him to live the most active life possible in pursuit of his Paralympic dreams!” Rio has been personally invited to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by the President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee. Rio will be able to see his heroes in action this September where he’ll be proudly showing off his new blade with its custom-designed hand-painted socket which Rio had requested to be a replica of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch.
New campaign encourages more disabled people to be active
100 football fields can fit in the Olympic and Paralympic village
Sightsavers helps Malawi compete in Paralympics for the first time
For the very first time, Malawi will be sending an athlete to compete in the Paralympic Games thanks to sponsorship from international development charity, Sightsavers. Sightsavers advocates for equal rights and social inclusion of people with disabilities. Taonere Banda, aged 20, has low vision and was due to compete at the London 2012 games, but was forced to pull out at the last minute due to a lack of funding. President of the Malawi Paralympic Committee, James Chiutsi, emphasised that the sponsorship from Sightsavers has meant a lot for the Malawi team, who will attend the Games not just as participants, but as serious competitors. “This is very critical, because we know [sometimes] in Malawi society people with disabilities are looked upon as lesser human beings. Now, when you send a disabled athlete to Rio at that global level, I think it tells everybody else that no human being is less than the other. So we believe that apart from practicing sports, Malawi Paralympics is also trying to help the disabled rights movement in Malawi, so we appreciate it.”
Taonere is going for gold in September, when she’ll be competing in the T13 category for the 1500m event (she’s also hoping to enter the 800m) and proudly wearing a Sightsavers logo on her tracksuit. Taonere says: “I would like to act as a role model; through my participation and actions, I can change attitudes and help people see what people with disabilities can do. Little by little that might change mind sets and they’ll no longer see us as people who simply beg.” Sightsavers’ Put Us in the Picture campaign is calling on the international community to make global development inclusive of people with disabilities. Taonere’s story is just one example of the incredible things that people with disabilities can achieve with the right support. To follow Taonere’s journey check Sightsavers on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or visit www.sightsavers.org
English Federation for Disability Sport and many National Disablity Sports Organisations have launched the Together We Will campaign which looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise. Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport to deliver the campaign, with backing from Sport England. Results from new surveys show that
WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONS SUPPORT NEW WHEELCHAIR TENNIS TALENT ID SCHEME Wimbledon Champions Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett and Jordanne Whiley have thrown their support behind the Tennis Foundation’s new talent ID programme, Push2Podium. Launching the programme at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships Reid, Hewett and Whiley said they hoped it would encourage and inspire more disabled people to play wheelchair tennis and find the next generation of Paralympians. The programme will consist of eight free wheelchair tennis festivals across the country where anyone interested in the sport is encouraged to give it a go. Tennis Foundation Talent ID coaches will be present at these festivals and those players who show potential will be chosen to go forward to selection camps.
Gordon Reid has made Wimbledon history as the first ever men’s wheelchair singles champion. Singles games made their debut at this years championships
Speaking at the launch, Wimbledon singles and doubles champion Reid said:
SPORTS NEWS disabled people are half as likely to be as active as non-disabled people. As one in five people in England have an impairment or long-term health condition, disabled people are a large proportion of everyone’s community. The Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active. The eight NDSOs are British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf
Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower. The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport. Activity organisers can be involved in Together We Will. Encourage disabled people to take part in events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill. For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page www.efds.co.uk/together.
“I’m delighted to support the Push2Podium talent ID programme. I said at Wimbledon that before the tournament one of my aims was to inspire disabled people and particularly children to get active and realise that tennis can be a sport they really enjoy. “This programme is a great way for people to get involved in tennis and then talented individuals can receive the support they need to make it to the top of the game. I’d encourage everyone who is tempted to
get along to one of the festivals and try out the sport; I’ve travelled the world thanks to wheelchair tennis and made some lifelong friends and memories so I would recommend it to everyone.” 18-year-old Hewett, who has risen through the ranks of the Tennis Foundation’s wheelchair tennis world class performance programme, said: “The Tennis Foundation has provided invaluable support to me throughout my career from just starting
out in the game as a junior to becoming Wimbledon doubles champion and heading to Rio soon. Wheelchair tennis is a fantastic, growing sport and I would recommend everyone who wants to try it to get down to a Push2Podium camp as you never know where it could take you.” The festivals will take place during September over the weekends of the 18th and 24th/25th of September across the country. Visit tennisfoundation.org.uk for more info.
200 disabled children from all over London descended on the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park for a ‘mini Paralympics’, two of which were Malik, and Lina Berbiche, who both lost limbs after a bus crash in 2007. Malik, 12 and Lina, 10, took part in the Panathlon London Final, the climax of 16 qualifying events over six months which have featured more than 1200 children from over 100 schools across all 32 London boroughs. Children with disabilities and impairments play games such as boccia and wheelchair racing giving them opportunities to compete. Malik and Lina competed for Hillingdon and finished fourth. Barking and Dagenham were crowned champions, regaining the title they last won in 2010. Before the competition began, Malik was chosen to take the Panathlon oath alongside former Paralympic swimming gold medallist Liz Johnson. He said: “I felt nervous as the Copper Box is such a big place, but once I started reading it I was OK. “It’s like a dream. I never knew that I’d be able to come and play where actual athletes competed during the Olympics. “I’ve been competing in Panathlons for four years. They’ve given me so much confidence and my ambition now is to become a Paralympian.” Lina added: “Panathlon is great fun and such a brilliant opportunity for us. The table cricket and polybat events are my favourites. I’m going to put my medals
Paralympians of the Future somewhere safe in my bedroom!” The Hillingdon team was made up of pupils from Pield Heath, Coteford and Ruislip High as well as Malik’s own school Harefield Academy. Looking on, proud mother Sannia said: “Malik did brilliantly saying the oath, as normally he’s a shy boy. He is very sporty and a big Manchester United fan. He wants to be a runner in the Paralympics. Lina is usually not very sporty, she’s more of a ballerina! But once she arrives she’s always really excited.” Three-time Paralympic medallist Johnson, who is a Panathlon ambassador, said: “You get so much from sport regardless of what level you play at and everybody deserves that opportunity. What Panathlon offers that a lot of other charitable organisations don’t is the
Sports wheelchairs can reach speeds of up to 30mph 10
opportunity to compete. The fact that we’re in an Olympic venue is just the icing on the cake.” Fellow Panathlon ambassador Steve Brown, Great Britain’s London 2012 wheelchair rugby captain, added: “Year after year I’ve seen Panathlon evolve, making these events bigger and better. There are more and more smiles at every event. “The best thing is watching the happiness and enjoyment from a day like this coupled with that competitive element. “It’s lovely to see children with disabilities in an environment where they’re comfortable and confident enough to be competitive, yet friendly enough to have compassion and empathy for the people they’re playing against. “ Panathlon is backed by the Jack Petchey Foundation, the St James’ Place Foundation and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. He commented: “I want to ensure all Londoners can participate and compete at all levels. The Panathlon Challenge offers thousands of young Londoners the opportunity to take part in competitive sport each year, where they might not have otherwise found an outlet for their talents. Visit www.panathlon.com to find out how you can get involved. ■
B E H T
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FER A F O ONE OF CYCL RANGE ICES E W I D T S/S E R V D S. NEE DUC PRO ET YOUR E TO M
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With 182 GB athletes already on their way to the 15th Summer Paralympic Games, the bustling backdrop of Rio de Janeiro promises to bring an atmosphere that is sure to make this year’s Games an event not to miss. Whether you’re hitting the Copacabana or watching from the comfort of your own couch, you’ll need to know what not to miss, the household names and those sure to make a splash with their Paralympic debut. While your living room will be significantly less sandy, a palpable atmosphere is sure to be felt as you cheer on your team, and if you’re longing for the Rio weather we recommend cranking the thermostat up a little. Don your shorts and sunglasses, grab a Pina Colada and get ready for Rio 2016.
© Michael J www.flickr.com
THE Superhumans Channel 4 have once again thrown their full support behind the ParalympicsGB team and their latest trailer, ‘We’re the Superhumans’ has captured the nation again. With over 26million views so far on Facebook alone, this incredible trailer features 140 disabled people, from a blind musician and tap dancers with only one leg to a pilot flying with no arms and a mother changing her babies nappy with her feet. Dan Brooke, who oversaw the advert for Channel 4, told the Guardian in an interview: “We wanted to say any disabled person can
be a superhuman. You have everyday people doing amazing things. There are more disabled people in [this] one advert than in the whole history of British advertising altogether.” The powerful three-minute trailer starts off with a drummer using his feet to play and Tony Dee (Tony Doevendans) is the singer who lends his fantastic swing-style voice to the song for the advert, Sammi Davis Jr’s ‘Yes I Can’. Tony has spina bifida and was discovered by Channel 4 after his wife put up a video on YouTube of him singing ‘Come Fly With Me’.
The video goes on to showcase the talents of everyday people as well as the athletes, to celebrate the everyday achievements and further dispel the myths that society have of the disabled community. This powerful message is extended to the public in what can only be described as a plethora of entertaining, thoughtful and inspiring scenes, with a catchy tune and some serious undertones, we think Channel 4 have hit the nail on the head once again. View the trailer at www.youtube.com, search ‘We’re the Superhumans’.
FACTS This year, 528 events will see 4350 athletes from 170 countries from Afghanisatan to Zimbabwe compete in 22 different sports across 33 venues in four regions of the country; Copacabana, Barra de Tijuca, Deodoro and Maracanã. THIS YEAR’S GAMES WILL ALSO SEE TWO NEW EVENTS MAKE THEIR DEBUT; PARATRIATHLON AND CANOEING, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE UNDER THE SHADOW OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER. The symbol for the Paralympic Games contains three colours, red, blue and green, which are the colours most widely represented in the flags of nations. The colours are each in the shape of an Agito, which is Latin for ‘I move’, and the three Agitos circle a central point, which is a symbol for the athletes congregating from all points of the globe.
If you are lucky enough to be going to Rio to witness the Games first-hand then, aside from being incredibly lucky, you will also have the tough task of deciding what to see. If you are watching it from that familiar box in your living room like most of the country, you will have equally as tough a task, thank goodness for the pause/play/record buttons! To help make your task a little bit easier we have rounded up some of the top events that include athletes from across the globe to ensure you see some of the highlights that you may have otherwise missed. Happy shouting at your TV.
Matt Stutzmann, from the USA, holds the world record for the longest distance anyone has ever fired an arrow. He will be competing in the individual compound event in Rio.
The German long-jumper is the current world record holder in the F44 long jump, following his performance in Doha earlier this year where he jumped a whopping 8.40m.
The 12-year-old Scottish swimmer secured her place for Rio following two record breaking performances in the 100m backstroke S13. She will celebrate her 13th birthday just before her Paralympic debut.
The long jumper will once again be representing the UK at her second Games competing for GB (she originally competed for Canada in 2008). Stef will be preparing to launch herself to glory in the F44 long jump in Rio. We caught her excited tweet after the announcement: “I’m going to Rio!!!!! Currently watching YouTube videos on how to Samba.” We agree that Samba dancing should be in the training schedule of all the athletes.
T44 100M SPRINT
Our very own Jonnie Peacock will be looking to defend his 2012 title, but this will be no easy feat as their will be fierce competition.
SWIMMER AND CYCLIST DAME SARAH STOREY IS CONSIDERED BRITAIN’S MOST DECORATED
Brazil have won every Paralympic Games gold medal in this sport since it was introduced, it is therefore no surprise that they will again be the favourites. On home soil there is no doubt that the atmosphere will be electric.
PARALYMPIAN WITH 22 MEDALS WON ACROSS A 12-YEAR CAREER, WITH 11 GOLD, EIGHT SILVER AND
This year’s innovative medals not only feature braille, but inside case a tiny device which makes a noise when the medal is shaken, allowing visually impaired athletes to know if they are gold, silver or bronze (gold has the loudest noise, bronze the quietest).
Man of the moment, Gordon Reid, fresh out of his amazing performances that created Wimbledon history, will be shouldering the dreams of the UK public in the singles and doubles events in Rio. No pressure Gordon.
The youngest player on the GB wheelchair rugby team and the only woman, Coral, will make her Paralympic debut in Rio. This is not her first world-stage event though as she impressed at the Canada Cup in 2014 winning best in class – a remarkable achievement for a player with under one year’s experience at the time.
Currently ranked number one in the world, Will Bayley is a passionate player, he had everyone hooked at London 2012 with his skilled and emotional performances. There is no
THREE BRONZE. SHE’S JOINED BY WHEELCHAIR RACER, DAME TANNI
doubt he will have you on the edge of your seat once again.
OPENING AND CLOSING CERMONIES
Rio de Janiero is famous for Carnival, a festival held every year just before Lent. It is considered the biggest carnival in the world with in excess of 2million people a day taking to the streets to celebrate. Carnival sees the streets filled with a parade of revelers, samba dancers and flamboyant floats. The colours bursting, the music filling the air and everyone moving to an undeniable samba beat. If Rio’s reputation is anything to go by, the Opening and Closing Cermonies will be nothing short of spectacular.
GREY-THOMPSON AND FELLOW SWIMMER MIKE KENNY AND DAVE ROBERTS.
THE METALS FOR THE MEDALS HAVE BEEN EXTRACTED USING SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES, THE RIBBONS MADE FROM RECYCLED BOTTLES AND EVEN THE PODIUMS HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO BE USED AS FURNITURE AFTER THE GAMES! ParalympicsGB took home 120 medals in the London 2012 Paralympics; 34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze. Joanne Round was Britain’s youngest ever Paralympic gold medal winner, with two swimming relay golds in Seoul, 1998 aged just 12-years-old.
ONES TO WATCH
RIO 2016 PARALYMPICSGB – THE ATHLETES
ParalympicsGB is stronger than ever and our determined athletes will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and make their country proud. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all the athletes in ParalympicsGB the very best of luck, we are behind you every step of the way.
Sascha will be competing in his sixth consecutive Paralympic Games, as a veteran he is feeling quietly confident about his swimming performance: “Training is going really well and I am hitting times in sessions that I haven’t hit for a long time so I am feeling confident that I can produce a fast swim in Rio. I still have the same focus for Rio as I did for the other five Paralympics I’ve been too. I’m preparing for my best race of this four-year cycle. I have archived PBs in my main events over the last two years so that is proof that age is just a number. Rio will be my sixth Paralympics. All of them have been amazing and I can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to represent GB so many times. I hope I can be in Tokyo. Whether it’s as a swimmer, I don’t know. For me it is important that I get my performance right on that one day every four years at the Paralympics. If the performance is right then I’m happy. The medals are a bonus.”
The girl who can do no wrong will once again be racing into our hearts as she takes on three events in Rio. Following consistent success after London 2012, Hannah, goes into these Games with high hopes and a lot of pressure. Nothing she can’t handle we’re sure. “At 23, I’m going to be one of the oldest girls on the start line, which is ridiculous. There is a lot more pressure than there was for London. I am Paralympic and World Champion, so people are always looking at me to do something impressive. The girls that have beaten my records started to believe in themselves and got into disability sport when they saw me compete in London. Everyone said that London was too easy for me and now, looking back, it probably was. So, Rio is going to be a massive challenge for me. I don’t really want to be beaten by someone who is younger than me, I know eventually it will happen but I want to stay on top for as long as I can, I’m still young, no matter what people say about me! I want to prove that I can be more than just a one-hit wonder, I can retain and keep pushing.”
SAMMI KINGHORN AND MEGAN GIGLIA Ottobock ambassadors, wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn and cyclist Megan Giglia will be making their Paralympic debuts.
Philip Yates, Managing Director at Ottobock, said: “We would like to congratulate both Samantha and Megan on being selected to represent GB at the Paralympic Games. Both Megan and Sammi, are great role models and we are extremely proud and privileged to have both these inspirational and talented young women as Ottobock ambassadors. “We are thrilled to have been able to help and be part of their journey to Rio. They continue to amaze us with their achievements and have shown that with hard work and determination you can achieve what you set your mind to. This will be their first time at the Paralympics and we have no doubt they will both achieve glory at Rio; and we can’t wait to cheer them on as they compete at the Games.”
Megan was fitted at Ottobock’s Minworth clinic with a new customFollow @MeganGiglia made @Sam_Kinghorn cycling Ankle Foot Orthosis, which she uses when competing. Samantha uses her custom-fitted Voyager Evo as her everyday chair; getting to and from competitions and is often seen in it when collecting medals. Visit www.ottobock.co.uk or follow @ottobockuk. Megan talked to OnTrack about her debut: “At the moment I am still not thinking too much about it, because although I have been officially announced as part of the team, anything can happen. So I am keeping myself safe on the bike, I’m fuelling, I’m training, I’m putting everything I’ve got into it. It’s all about getting everything right now, so I am focusing on each day as it comes, looking at the bigger picture and I am prepared for Rio.
Rob Oliver As canoeing joins the Paralympics for its first year, we caught up with young hopeful Rob Oliver ahead of Rio this summer.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO CANOEING?
I actually went for powerlifting on the day and then realised that the power to weight ratio for amputees is insane so I was probably never going to be able to achieve that. It was just out of chance that canoeing was there on the day, they had a kayak and I jumped on it and had a go; I gave it everything I had because I thought I might as well, I have nothing to lose and set the fastest time that they’d had in the country at any trials at any training day for disability sport. From there, I went down south to Royal Canoe club. I’d never been in a boat before until six years ago. At first I didn’t take to it at all, I just kept sinking and falling out; I didn’t have the coordination and balance because the sport is so technical. I thought to myself at one point ‘this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, just trying to stay in this boat’. Sporting-wise I had never done anything that was so difficult and in a way that made me want to do it even more.
GROWING UP WHAT WERE YOUR EXPERIENCES OF SPORT? I’ve always done sport. I did football from
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I got into canoeing about six years ago, going through a trials day through London 2012, when they did all the Olympic and disability sport trials. I went to a taster day down in Guildford after building myself up with one of my mates, who is a personal trainer; he was trying to get me as fit as possible for the trials day and try out for as many sports as possible. So I’d been training for about six months prior to that to really try and build myself up.
when I was about five or six, I would play for different Sunday league times and then I did Olympic weightlifting when I was a teenager. I was English schoolboys champion when I was 13, but I stopped doing that and concentrated on playing football again, wanting to have a good time with my friends really. It was only really post-injury that I thought about getting back into elite sport again like when I was doing the Olympic weightlifting, I didn’t push myself when I was a teenager and this was a bit of a kick up the bum to not waste my talent and to find something to do.
PARA-CANOEING IS ABOUT TO MAKE IT’S DEBUT AT THE PARALYMPICS, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ONE
OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO TAKE PART IN THAT?
Since I started doing the sport and knowing that it could be a possibility and once it had been confirmed that it was going to be at Rio, that was always my goal; to get to the Games and to try and win one of the first Paralympic medals. No one can ever win the first one again so it’s an amazing thing to think that we as a team or myself as an individual can win. Our goal as a team is to make it to the top of the medal table and myself as an individual, I want to bring home as high a medal as possible.
HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR RIO? For the last two years we’ve been pretty much doing the same training and haven’t
Rob Oliver is an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK. For more info visit prostatecanceruk.org
been doing much more for Rio. It’s 13 times a week, if it’s a heavy week we’ll go up to 15. We’ve all been full time for years now so there’s not really any more training you can try to cram in, that’s just what it is. The focus has sort of changed a little bit though, we’re not going as far now, we’re not doing as much distance work. We are really working on that speed element and adding a bit of weight to get really powerful and then taking the weights back out so you really feel like you’re flying. We’re trying to work on that top end speed so it’s quite tiring at the moment, but it’s good.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPERSTITIONS OR LUCKY CHARMS?
I’ve always tried to not have them. I did, I had a couple, I’d always wear a specific pair of undershorts and then eventually, I thought I
can’t have this superstition because they’re just going to get worn away. So I ditched them and still won a race in Britain so I’d pretty much got rid of the superstition and got rid of my grotty shorts. Luckily, I’ve tried to steer away from that sort of stuff on purpose because if I lost it or didn’t have it I’d panic.
IF YOU WEREN’T CANOEING WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d still be doing a sport, but probably not at this level. The only reason I’m competitive is because I’m good at canoeing and kayaking, but I’d definitely be doing something even if it wasn’t at an international level. I’ve had a go at wheelchair tennis a few times and I really enjoyed it, it’s competitive and aggressive but at the same time quite skilful so similar to the kayaking. Being
quite athletic but with a lot of technical skill involved. If I hadn’t got into the sport I’d still be doing my job, which was an aerospace engineer.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE LOOKING TO TAKE UP A SPORT? I’d do the same as what I did. It depends on what level you want to get to, but if you want to become the next big thing in parasport I’d say try as many sports as you can because you will have to love the sport.
If you want to become competitive in a sport you have to love it because you sacrifice so much to do it. I don’t have much of a social life, I just eat, sleep and train but I don’t mind doing that because I just love the sport so much. ■
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Henry Hazlewood of the Lord’s Taverners chats all things cricket and Disability Cricket Championships
ricket is one of the main focuses of the Lord’s Taverners, one of the UK's leading disability sports charities. Named after one of the most famous and active cricket clubs in the world, their aim is to make cricket more accessible to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with disabilities; they hope to enhance their lives through sport and recreation. “Everything in our cricket programme is focused on disadvantaged or disabled young people,” Henry said. “We have a number of different programmes that fall under those categories, including our table cricket programme, which is an adapted form of cricket, providing an opportunity for those with disabilities that they might not otherwise get.”
Table cricket was created specifically for wheelchair users because they would not have otherwise been able to play, but the Lord’s Taverners also operate their Disability Cricket Championship (LTDCC), which is open to people of all abilities. “One of the big problems for people with disabilities is that they struggle to reach competition and competitive opportunities. So, competition was really the buzz word for our programme and it was born out of providing young people with a disability more competitive opportunities within cricket. “The programme is pan disability, which means it is open to all disabilities regardless of the impairment type. So whether you’re deaf or have a physical disability you can access this programme. We’re currently running that programme across London, in 23 of the boroughs with the focus to hopefully expand out into all 32 within the next three years.” The charity works with a number of partners to help them deliver the programme – the LTDCC is run in partnership with the Berkeley Foundation and the four London county cricket boards, as well as Sport England and the Wembley National Stadium Trust. By taking cricket to the community, the charity negates issues such as travel or accessibility or money, by providing everything for free (including any transport or equipment), they make the sport accessible and try to encourage more people to get involved.
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“Ability is not important, it’s very much secondary,” Henry said. “We’re not looking for the next elite players at all we’re very much trying to get more and more people involved and enjoy playing the sport and having the benefits of cricket. “The problem with cricket is that many people see it as players in white and quite elitist. Particularly with the Championship we play a very flexible form of cricket, which is quickfire, fun and interactive and suitable to anyone regardless of ability or disability. One thing we try and instil is that our programmes are longterm, and hopefully make them sustainable within the community.” If you fancy yourself as an elite disability cricketer of the future there is room for elite competition within the sport. Henry discussed the competition pathways on offer.
“We had our final at Lord’s earlier this year in May, which is obviously a great opportunity for people to play other boroughs and other teams. Through our programme and working with the county cricket boards there has also been a national pathway to people progressing onto disability county squads.” As with any sport, the physical and mental benefits are numerous, but Henry discusses the fun that cricket offers. “I’d encourage people to get involved to have fun, but also it’s very social so there’s lots of opportunity to meet new people and likeminded peers. Particularly relevant for people with disability, cricket has massive cognitive benefits as well. Speaking to teachers and people who have taken part in the programme, there’s always huge feedback on the improvements in peoples concentration, better communication and better personal skills.” In the first instance, anyone wishing to get involved in the championship should visit www.lordstaverners.org but you can find your local county cricket board by visiting www.ecb.co.uk/news/domestic/counties. ■
Naomi is a student at City of Westminster College and is from Portugal. She had never held a cricket bat before or played the game prior to being introduced to it for the first time last year. Through the sessions with her coach, she developed a real love of cricket and a result of her strong desire to learn and improve her skills, there has been a remarkable change in her which has been seen on and off the pitch. Naomi was a very shy student who lacked confidence in social situations. She wouldn’t speak to her coach or teammates unless spoken to and struggled to socialise and make friends at college. Naomi is now a completely different young lady, she is able to communicate, is more confident and outspoken and is happy to speak up during sessions, offer advice to her teammates and captain and has made new friends at college. The opportunities to play at the Oval and Middlesex Academy were enjoyable experiences for her and
helped increase her confidence when faced with young people from different colleges and other parts of London. Naomi’s self-belief has increased dramatically and she has taken this into other parts of her college life and is making excellent progress. She has been enrolled on a higher level course this year and doing well. The whole experience of the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships has been a positive one for her. Her coach, Mikey Thompson, had this to say about the project: ‘It is amazing to have a programme like this where you can see the young people improve in not only their cricket skills but their all-round development and social interaction. You wouldn’t be able to recognise Naomi now from the girl she was a year ago and this is down to having the opportunity cricket has given her in discovering skills that she thought she never had’. ■
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s David Follett was about to begin study leave for his A-levels, he suffered serious spinal injuries and was left tetraplegic following a car collision. Shortly after his discharge from the spinal unit, David was introduced to the sport of para badminton. Talking about the impact sport has had on his life, David said: “When I came out of hospital I was introduced to wheelchair badminton, which I fell in love with. It was a real lifeline for me. “Sport for me now really helps with my fitness, my well-being, as well as engaging with people. And I love the social side of things. You need power, speed, agility, strength.” Specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured a personal injury settlement that means David is able to lead the active and independent life he deserves. He has bought a specially adapted bungalow fitted with the specialist physiotherapy and sports equipment he needs to train to the highest level, including his own hydrotherapy pool.
progressed to become one of England’s leading players. “I always want to do better, I always want to train harder and I love the competitiveness and the drive to succeed,” David said. “I’m currently 13th in the world in wheelchair badminton. I play for England para badminton team. Sport’s what I live for. It shaped the person that I am today.” David is involved in Irwin Mitchell’s Don’t Quit Do It campaign to promote the benefits of disability sport in helping people recover from serious injuries. The ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ campaign features a series of videos of people who have used sport to help overcome their injuries including wheelchair basketball and badminton, amputee cycling and football, rowing and horse-riding.
can also help inspire people who find themselves coping with disabilities to get involved in new activities and learn to come to terms with their new situation. Stuart Henderson, Managing Partner of Personal Injury at Irwin Mitchell said: “We’ve seen first-hand the benefits that disability sport can have both physically in their rehabilitation and in boosting the morale of people who may be struggling to come to terms with their injuries. “Our research shows that specialist rehabilitation following serious injuries can have a massive positive effect on those involved, helping them to become more independent and often significantly reducing the burden on the NHS and benefits systems.” For more information on the campaign and videos visit http://www.irwinmitchell. com/personal/personal-injurycompensation/disability-sport ■
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David received incredible support from his family throughout and, as his interest in para badminton grew, his dad founded the Devon Racqueteers para badminton club with the help of Sharon Hawkins. This has become the largest wheelchair badminton club in England. He’s gone on to show huge talent for the sport, and with a great deal of determination and hard training, he has
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Running and the Great Wall of China are not two things that immediately go together, but this hasn’t stopped 53-year-old Mark Pattenden from becoming the first ever amputee to take part in the Great Wall of China Marathon.
ark, who has been a belowthe-knee amputee for 18 years, became an official world record holder in the aftermath of the marathon. He is no stranger to stamina challenges and has already climbed Mount Everest amongst various other feats including a 24 hour endurance challenge.
He decided to take on the marathon after he was contacted by the organiser via Twitter: “He had been watching me for about three years doing various challenges and he thought it was a great way to show what disabled people can do. After watching the past routes on YouTube I knew it was doable - very difficult - but doable.” Mark then went on to secure new sponsors and begin training with an Olympic standard para-coach for the challenge, which was unlike any other endurance test he had ever experienced: “Like any challenge, you never quite know what you’re going to face until you actually do it. The Great Wall of China is a bit different to running a normal marathon due to the thousands of steps! It is 100% the hardest thing I have ever done – even harder than Everest, because you simply have to keep moving and the climate is very humid and hot.”
Amputee runners have a lot to think about and endurance tests present various challenges with the socket where the prosthetic is attached, running the risk of friction caused by sweating and constant wear. The uneven ground of the wall also presented further issues, with the majority of prosthetic running blades being designed for maximum effectiveness on flat surfaces.
A LITTLE HELP FROM DORSET
Mark participated in the marathon using a prosthetic limb provided by Dorset Orthopaedic, who he has been working closely with to raise money and awareness for over a year after being put in touch with them through another challenge: “Their slogan is ‘life without limits’, which fits into my life and what I’m all about. The leg they built me was just phenomenal – at no point did I have any issue.” Due to the unusual nature of the marathon, the team at Dorset Orthopaedic sourced and modified a specialised running blade with a footplate better equipped to deal with the uneven gradient: “When I was going up I was running on my toe, as with a conventional running blade, but with the footplate it had the heel to give you the stability to come down.”
He likened parts of the marathon to mountain climbing, with the heights leading to some staggering views: “When you’re going up all you see is one step after the next, but when you turn around you realise it’s not the kind of place you would want to be if you suffered from vertigo! It’s a phenomenal thing to see, let alone to run on. All the training and all the conditioning exercises you have been doing up to that point suddenly have no relevance.” Out of roughly 150 participants a last minute change of route meant that only around five were able to complete the whole marathon, but this did little to hinder Mark’s enjoyment and sense of achievement at the endeavour: “I’ve always said it’s not about the completing, it’s about
THE GREATEST WALL TO OVERCOME the competing – as long as you are active and having a go. I was absolutely over the moon to get my medal.” His run clocked in at seven hours 25 minutes, and it wasn’t long before Official World Records were in touch asking Mark if he would like to claim a new title: “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t see it coming at all – the organisation got in touch with me and told me I was the first male to attempt this kind of thing.” Mark’s visit to China saw him become very popular with the locals, with many requesting selfies with him: “I took more selfies in four days than I have in my whole life! It’s a very different culture and amputees tend to be hidden away – people were looking at me like I was from another planet, but I think they were ultimately in awe of this one-legged man running the Great Wall of China!” Aside from raising money for charity, Mark’s biggest aspiration regarding his challenges
is to inspire others to push themselves and be open to new challenges: “It’s not about me, it’s about proving to other disabled people that they can do it. Your mindset is about 90% of the work – if you believe you can do it, you will do it. If you believe you will fail, you will fail. Sometimes people lack sympathy for themselves and they expect too much of themselves too quickly.” Mark is also affiliated with Limb Power, a charity which aims to empower amputees to engage in sports and other activities. Many of his challenges raise money for the charity and he is already working towards a number of other challenges involving everything from handbikes to kayaks, which will be sure to keep him busy over the coming months: “I want to encourage other disabled people to have a go, because there is life after amputation or any other form of disability. I realise I’m getting older, but my heart is in the right place and my mind wants to go – it’s whether or not my body will come with me!” ■
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Follow Mark on Twitter @disco2man or find him on Facebook. Donations to his next challenge can be made via Just Giving at justgiving. com/fundraising/ Mark-Pattenden12.
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World’s first table tennis coach with Down’s syndrome
arry Fairchild recently passed his Table Tennis England Level 1 coaching qualification to become the world’s first table tennis coach with Down’s syndrome. The demanding three-month course included a practical assessment of delivering table tennis skills to a group of children. A scribe helped Harry with the written work. Harry took his Level 1 Coaching course at Brighton Table Tennis Club with an incredibly diverse group of 16 local players and coaches. Active Sussex bursaries and Table Tennis England jointly funded the training. Coaches are asked to give ten weeks of voluntary coaching back to the sport locally. Brighton is a priority zone and hotspot for development of Table Tennis nationally. Harry has been part of the Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) coaching team at St Luke’s, St Paul’s and some other primary schools for the past six months and has a fantastic relationship with all the young people he teaches.
“Playing table tennis is a good thing,” says Harry. “I love showing other people how to play. Being a coach is about staying still and then running around the tables as well. It is good exercise and good for muscles. People learn to respect each other through playing and everything will be OK when they play, if they have me to show them how to.” A professional and paid Makaton teacher at St Luke’s for the past three years, Harry is also a talented actor, dancer and musician. However, he lives and breathes table tennis, answering his home phone in Woodingdean: “Hello Brighton Table Tennis Club, how can I help you?”
great future ahead of him and was recently crowned UK Down’s Syndrome Table Tennis Champion as the highest finisher with Down’s syndrome in the Special Olympics National Competition.” Brighton Table Tennis Club are launching from the 3rd July 2016 a Down’s syndrome specific session, with Harry Fairchild coaching. Sessions will take place from 10am-1pm on the first Sunday of every month, for players aged 14 and over. £4 per session. Get in touch with Brighton Table Tennis Club for more information at www.brighton tabletennisclub.co.uk ■
Said BTTC Director Tim Holtam: “Harry is a great role model and example of what someone with Down’s syndrome can achieve. Table tennis is lucky he has decided to focus his boundless energy on the sport. He plays between 3-5 hours, six days a week and his passion for the sport and support for others make a great contribution to the club. He is also an outstanding player with a
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Our seated tandem surfboard is the first of its kind in the UK and lets us include people that no one else can
catching waves I mages of tanned, blonde beach bunnies running around in slight tie-dyed beachwear in scorching temperatures at the peak of physical perfection in clear blue waters is what comes to the mind of many when they are asked about surfing. This is usually what stops people from pursuing it. This isn’t all true. You can surf in the cold, you can surf in a wetsuit, you can surf in Britain and you can definitely surf with a disability. There are organisations out there that can facilitate people with disabilities in their quest to master the waves. One company that pulls out all the stops to accommodate a whole host of disabilities is Surfability UK. Benjamin Clifford, one of the directors, established the organisation in July 2013, prior to which he had been working in special education for three years and has been surf coaching since 2007. He explained why surfing can be so beneficial for people with disabilities. He said: “The list of benefits is huge. Surfing gets people outdoors enjoying our beautiful beaches. Surfing lets you appreciate bad weather as it doesn’t matter once you have your wetsuit on and makes for good waves. Surfing is amazing exercise, it uses lots of different
muscle groups and helps you stretch. It is also good cardio exercise. Surfing is a low impact activity as falls don’t hurt and the water helps take the weight off your limbs. It is a great chance to meet people; also surfing is cool!” Surfability UK welcome everybody and anybody, no matter what their disability. Benjamin commented on some of the disabilities that the Swansea-based company has seen most recently. He said: “Participants over the last year have included people with autistic spectrum conditions and Asperger's syndrome, developmental delay, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypertonia, Angelmans syndrome, traumatic brain injuries,
spinal cord injuries, Down's syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, blind and partially sighted people, amputees, people with athrogryposis, people with kyphoscoliosis, people with diplegia, hemiplegia and quadriplegia. “We can include anyone who we can lift out of the water if necessary. Our seated tandem surfboard is the first of its kind in the UK and lets us include people that no one else can. “We provide surfboards and wetsuits as well as tandem surfboards so people who need extra help can surf on a bigger board with a coach. We also have a beach access wheelchair and a seated tandem surfboard so wheelchair users can be included. “I have had some amazing moments surfing with people who are usually non-verbal or have limited speech. After catching a wave they have asked me “can we catch another wave?” This has happened on several occasions and has been the first sentence I have ever heard from the person. “I also have a student at the moment
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who is visually impaired and can see only a small amount of shape and colour from one eye. She started off surfing in tandem with me but has now progressed to surfing her own board and standing up." One other company turned charity that aids disability surfing is The Wave Project. With many surf clubs based all over the country, The Wave Project focuses not only on the physical act of surfing for people with disabilities but also the mental health factors that surfing can have a massive effect on. Joe Taylor, the CEO of the registered charity, detailed the advantages that The Wave Project can have on someone’s mental health. He said: “The benefits of surfing are now really clear to us. In a nutshell, there are two or three main benefits that surfing has for people that improves their mental health. First of all, being in the water, being in or around water, especially being immersed in it, particularly in the sea, it’s been
proven to have really clear benefits on your mental health. It helps you destress, forget about your problems, disengage with the hectic world around you; there have been studies all around the world about that. “Secondly, surfing itself, as well as being in the water, you are being moved by the water and that triggers certain neurochemicals in the brain that help to improve your well-being, eg. dopamine and serotonin. “Thirdly, the social aspect, particularly with our project, because we hold group surfing lessons as well as one-to-one, it’s fun having good moments, bad moments and funny moments around other people. That sense of having a laugh with your friends. There is a lot of evidence that talking to others and social interaction is really at the absolute heart of good mental health. People who are isolated and lonely have poorer mental health than people who aren’t, almost regardless of external circumstances. “We had a case last year of a little girl, Madison, who had cerebral palsy,
who had never walked, did our course and afterwards started walking again. I’m not claiming it was surfing that cured her, but what it did do was give her confidence to try and walk unaided. She does still need a wheelchair, but she can walk a short distance without one because she had that improved confidence and belief she could do it. Self-confidence is crucial for everyone, disabled or not. “Any disabled person can go surfing with the right support. We have worked with children who are unable to walk, who can’t use any of their limbs, who are blind, who have severe learning disabilities or even children who have had a combination of all of these. It is possible to cater for any child with any disability. “Don’t think you can’t do it.” Go out and try something new, different and cool. Grab that board and catch that wave! Anyone interested in surfing can find out more information at www.surfabilityukcic.org and www.waveproject.co.uk ■
All images © Sarah Clarke for The Wave Project
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Calvert Trust Exmoor enables people of any ability to experience challenging and enjoyable activity holidays. At our fully accessible residential centre on the edge of Exmoor National Park all activities are specifically designed and equipped to cater for everyone.
Ardoo 140 Hoist / Stand Aid Combo Footplate with kneepad attaches in seconds to complete Stand Aid Simple Optional conversion to a Stand Aid Folds and erects in seconds - no tools required Safe, easy transfer into front or rear seat of car Lifts from wheelchair, stairlift, toilet, etc Take on holidays / day trips with family & friends Ideal for hotels, cruise ships, weekends away Use in bathrooms & tight spaces
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HAVE YOU TRIED...
HAVE YOU TRIED...
hether it’s Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne or James Bond, every good action movie has a skydiving scene featuring their hero as they swoop to save the day. Skydiving is certainly one of the most thrilling and exciting ways to truly defy gravity and if you’re feeling a bit too grounded a skydive should help you feel light again. There are three different types of fall, static line, accelerated free fall and tandem, ranging from 12,000 to 3500 feet. Tandem parachuting offers a quick and easy introduction to free-fall skydiving and allows many people with disabilities to truly experience the thrill of skydiving as it requires no training, with an instructor helping you pull your parachute and guiding you back down to earth. Exiting the aircraft from around 10,000 feet, you will experience an exhilarating 30-second freefall before your parachute, with the help from your instructor, takes you back down to earth with a soft landing. Skydive Hibaldstow have helped members of the public with a variety of disabilities partake in tandem courses. Instructor
Richard Cotton says: “So far this year we have had jumpers with MS, amputees, deaf, and blind to name but a few. The basic layout for the day is the same, for anybody in a wheelchair we have a lower weight limit of 12 stone. “For anybody with a disability we ask them to contact us before booking their skydive. After making contact, if needed, we will arrange an assessment meeting at the dropzone. This is a chance for us to make sure you will be safe to jump as well as checking if there is anything else we need to do in order to take you on your skydive. Typically this might include ensuring there is some wind on the day of the jump, we use the wind to help slow down the speed of the landing. You will also need a medical form to be completed by your doctor. “ They are home to the UK’s highest skydive and host to the British Championships. You can call their Chief Instructor on 01652 648 837 or email email@example.com. You can also learn more by visiting the British Parachute Association website at www.bpa.org.uk.
CASE STUDY Claudia Breidbach had a dream to become a professional skydiver, after catching a taste for challenging gravity during a tandem jump in Lûtzelinden in Germany. Using only her left hand, Claudia has trained herself to operate all of the necessary equipment to become a fully-fledged skydiver. In 2012, she attended the German Nationals as a spectator before joining a team with Michael Sigl, who found his previous team disbanded after the event. Michael, Claudia and others have since joined to form an inclusive 4way skydiving team they call Team KARMA. Making them the world’s first sevenhanded sky diving team. “In the beginning we were slower in our
HAVE YOU TRIED...
learning process in developing the basic skills as a team. A lot of people didn’t take us seriously, but their attitude changed when we won a bronze medal at the 2014 German Nationals,” said Michael. Michael comments on Claudia’s motivation: “She never accepts boundaries and has always fought for a chance to show her capabilities and what is possible.”
SKYDIVING BY NUMBERS
25 parachute training organisations across the UK 30 jumps to become a fully-fledged skydiver 135, 908 ft, the highest free-fall skydive 4 the age of the youngest ever skydiver 403 most tandem parachute jumps in 24 hours
The team has to take extra care in order to provide a good performance within a competition, including ensuring that Claudia is able to grip what she needs to in order to ensure a smooth formation. Claudia and the team have one special dream, to become involved in the Paralympics as part of an able-bodied and disabled team and encourage everyone to get involved. ■
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THE MÜLLER ANNIVERSARY GAMES By Mark Davidson
our years ago, the world cast its eyes on London. It was a golden time for sport in the UK, not just for able-bodied athletes, but for Paralympic sport as well. Since that time, reputations have been made and lost and with the Rio Games ahead, many athletes descended on London on the 22-23 July for the Müller Anniversary Games. Stars from both the Olympics and Paralympics were in attendance, with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah competing alongside the likes of Hannah Cockcroft, Jonnie Peacock and David Weir. There were a number of Paralympic events taking place in both track and field and double amputee Richard Whitehead, 40, won the first race of the day in the men’s T42 200 metres. Controlling the pace, he won by some margin in a time of 23.03 seconds and beat his own world record in the process. Competing in the same race was David Henson, who got a taste of competitive athletics when he took part at the inaugural Invictus Games two years ago.
was won by Netherlands Marlou Van Rhijn, the current world record holder, who went on to break her own record, with the 2nd and 3rd spots taken by GB’s Sophie Kamlish and Laura Sugar respectively. Michal Mateusz Derus of Poland won the men’s T47 100 metres sprint in a time of 10.85 seconds, a season’s best and in the T53 100 metres the wheelchair race was won by Canada’s Brent Lakatos in a new meeting record with Brazil’s Ariosvaldo Fernandes Silva following closely behind. In front of a cheering crowd, Libby Clegg, along with her new guide Chris Clarke, comfortably won the women’s T11/12 200 metres. She was racing in only her third ever 200 metres with her new partner. One of Great Britain’s most celebrated Paralympians, Jonnie Peacock, competed in the men’s T44 100 metres, however, was unable to claim victory, which went to Jarryd Wallace of the U.S.A.
In the women’s wheelchair T54 1500 metres, victory went to Switzerland’s Manuela Schar. She ended well ahead of her rivals with GB’s Jade Jones finishing in a creditable 3rd place. In the equivalent of the men’s race, in a packed field, it was won by Marcel Hug of Switzerland who led for the most part, with GB’s David Weir finishing third.
Memories must have come flooding back for South Africa’s Fanie van der Merwe in the T37 100 metres. Winning in a time of 11.61, he was able to relive the glory of London 2012 where he picked up the gold in the same event. In the women’s T38 100 metre sprint, GB’s Sophie Hahn took the honours with a meeting record of 12.66 seconds which was just 0.06 off the world record time she set at the World Championships last year. In the longer 400 metre distance (T37), Johanna Benson of Namibia won Jonnie Peac ock the race.
Hannah Cockroft took her place in the 100 metres T34 competition and was once again the star of the show, with the 23-year-old winning in a time of 17.61 seconds, much to the delight of the home crowd. It was the ideal warm-up for Hannah who will be looking to add to her previous tally of gold medals in a few weeks time. The women’s 100 metres T44 event
In the field events, there was success for the world silver medallist David Blair who won the men’s discus F43/44. In the men’s T42/44 long jump there was victory for Markus Rehm of Germany with a leap of 7.96 metres and for world champion Jo Butterfield who triumphed in the women’s club throw F32/51 with a distance of record 22.02 metres. ■
Schaer of Manuela e nd won th a rl Switze m 0 0 5 1 4 5 T women’s
Crash in the men’s T54 1500m
40-41_Anniversary Games_DK_RTKW.indd 32
and guide C
Johanna Benson of Namibia
f the 0m
r and Sophie
HANNAH COCKROFT HAS TIPPED SOPHIE HAHN AND MARIA LYLE TO BE HOUSEHOLD NAMES AFTER RIO GB’S JO BUTTERFIELD SET A MEETING RECORD OF 22.02M IN THE CLUB THROW
LIBBY CLEGG RECENTLY HAD HER CLASSIFICATION CHANGED AND NOW HAS TO RUN WEARING A BLINDFOLD – THIS DIDN’T STOP HER SETTING ANOTHER WORLD RECORD IN THE T11 200M RICHARD WHITEHEAD BEAT HIS OWN WOLRD RECORD IN THE T42 200M WITH A TIME OF 23.03S
Christos Koutoulias of Greece
40-41_Anniversary Games_DK_RTKW.indd 33
G WIMBLEDON HISTORY
s the second week of Wimbledon action was getting underway, Australian Open champion Gordon Reid and US Open champion Jordanne Whiley were in front of the world’s press sharing their hopes ahead of the first ever Wimbledon wheelchair tennis singles event.
Wimbledon history books. Reid duly became the first men’s singles champion on the hallowed grass a day after partnering Hewett to become the first all-Brit partnership to win the men’s doubles. Whiley partnered Japan’s Yui Kamiji to become the first partnership to win a hattrick of women’s doubles titles.
“I think there’s kind of two things that would be really important to get out of this week. First one, if any kids or young people with disabilities get the opportunity to see us playing sport at a high level, then they can be inspired to do a similar thing, know there’s a lot in life you can achieve when you’re in a chair,” said Reid as he and Whiley faced questions from a captive audience in the main interview room at SW19.
All four players shared the limelight with Andy Murray and Serena Williams at the Champions Dinner.
“At the same time I think it’s important that young people without disabilities can see that people in chairs can be incredible athletes. Also, hopefully people are learning a little bit more about every player’s personality, as well. You realise that we are just normal human beings. There’s still a little bit of stigma in some places about disability. As much as we can bring that barrier down, get that message across to young people, it’s really important.” Alongside Reid’s hopes of what Wimbledon 2016 would do for perceptions of disability sport was the small matter of trying to make history himself by becoming the first player to win a wheelchair tennis men’s singles title at The Championships. Reid and Whiley were among five players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme to be among the entry of 16 players for the prestigious event this year. Reid was joined in the men’s singles and doubles by 18-year-old Alfie Hewett, while Whiley was joined in the women’s singles and doubles by Lucy Shuker and Louise Hunt. By the time those final balls had been struck on Courts 16 and 17, Reid, Hewett and Whiley had all earned a place in the
Reid’s path to the men’s singles title and his second Grand Slam singles crown of the season following his Australian Open victory in January saw him defeat Frenchman Nicolas Peifer 6-3, 6-4 in his opening match.
I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WITHOUT DISABILITIES CAN SEE THAT PEOPLE IN CHAIRS CAN BE INCREDIBLE ATHLETES He went on to beat Belgian world No.2 Joachim Gerard 7-6(9), 6-4 in the semi-finals, repeating his win over Gerard in the final in Australia and then powered his way past surprise fellow finalist and world No.7, Stefan Olsson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4 in the final. As Reid fired down his last unreturnable service at Olsson, a peak TV audience of 1.1 million people had tuned in live on BBC 2 to watch (one of) Scotland’s finest in action and en route to British sporting history. If Reid had wanted more and more people to get the opportunity to see him and his fellow
players playing sport at a high level, it was job done. The four days of competition on site at Wimbledon also drew incredible crowds, with excited fans including none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, all taking every vantage point to catch the action. “To win Wimbledon is an absolute dream. To do it here in front of the people I love, my friends and family, my coaches, with so much support. It’s great,” said world No.3 Reid. “I got tight on my first match point but on my second one I just forced myself to breathe and relax. I’ll never forget this moment, it’s incredible and such a special moment. To be able to play singles here at Wimbledon is brilliant; I’ve had worse weekends for sure!” BBC 2 had also shown the men’s doubles final live the previous day as Reid and Hewett, playing in their first Grand Slam event together, faced French top seeds Nicolas Peifer and Stephane Houdet. In their semi-final they faced Gerard and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez. Gerard had denied Hewett his first singles victory in his first Grand Slam singles event at Wimbledon on the first day of wheelchair tennis competition. Fernandez had denied Reid the opportunity of aiming for a hat-trick of Grand Slam singles titles when winning their men’s singles final at Roland Garros in June. However, the combined force of Reid and Hewett won the doubles semi-final 6-3, 6-2. So it was on to a dramatic title decider, a contest that ended in a thrilling final set tiebreak. Reid and Hewett edged to the victory 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6) for their first career win over Houdet and Peifer, having lost two finals earlier this year to the French duo at Super Series level. With the victory coming six weeks before the Paralympics, it was an allimportant victory for Reid and Hewett and a real statement of their ambitions for Rio. “It’s incredible to win my first Grand Slam title, I can’t even remember match point, I don’t know whether I hit the ball or Gordon did, it’s all a blur if I’m honest,”said Hewett. “The support from the crowd today was amazing and really helped us out after going to that tie break in the third set having led 5-2. It’s not sunk in yet and I think it will take a while to realise that I’m a Wimbledon champion.”
magazine.co.uk | 43
The women’s singles began with Whiley defeating her London 2012 bronze medalwinning doubles partner Lucy Shuker 6-1, 6-1. Hunt also bowed out in the opening round despite a fine effort against Roland Garros champion Marjolein Buis, which ended with the Dutchwoman advancing 6-2, 6-0. World No.3 Whiley’s ambitions to add the Wimbledon singles crown to her US Open title came undone in the semi-finals as another Dutchwoman, world No.4 Aniek van Koot wrapped up a 7-5, 6-3 victory. There were Brits on either side of the net when Whiley and Hunt met in the women’s doubles semi-finals with Whiley and Kamiji earning a 6-1, 6-3 win over Hunt and Buis. Shuker’s hopes of reaching a fourth Wimbledon doubles final ended in the other semi-final as she and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock narrowly missed out on taking
WHEN I GOT INTO TENNIS I BECAME CONFIDENT, LIKE I REALLY BELIEVED IN SOMETHING second seeds and two time champions Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot to a final set. The Dutch second seeds won 6-1, 7-6(4) to set up their fourth successive Wimbledon final against Whiley and Kamiji. With Griffioen and van Koot having won the 2013 final against Whiley and Kamiji but the British-Japanese pair reversing the outcome in their 2014 and 2015 meetings at Wimbledon, this year’s final proved equally as enthralling. Whiley made it three wheelchair tennis titles for the Brits as the pair recovered from their singles losses against van Koot to earn their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together 6-2, 6-2. “We’re both in a bit of shock if I’m honest,” said Whiley. “We never thought we could win three in a row as Jiske and Aniek are so strong, but today I really felt like we played the best tennis at a Grand Slam (that we have ever played). To win at Wimbledon is so special and the crowd today were brilliant. We just love being on court with each other and love playing with each other.”
[Top: Women’s doubles winners Whiley & Kamiji Bottom: Men’s doubles winners Hewitt and Reid]
And with that Whiley had also added her victorious ending, having shared with those in the main interview room at the start of the second week exactly what wheelchair tennis meant to her.
closely together over recent years to ensure that wheelchair tennis singles events at Wimbledon became a reality, this year’s even proved another overwhelming success.
“I think for me it’s just that sport completely changed my life from when I was a young girl. I was very insecure, didn’t have many friends. I was born with my disability. I was in and out of hospital constantly,” said Whiley.
It showed that wheelchair tennis players could play top quality singles on the grass and that the crowds were as thrilled by the skill and athleticism as they have been when watching wheelchair tennis doubles over the last dedade. And, of course, having three British champions was the perfect conclusion.
“When I got into tennis, I became confident, like I really believed in something, which made me believe in myself. I know it can really change your life. “For me it’s really important that young people do see that, especially for young disabled people, that there’s something more out there.”
Tennis really is a sport that anyone can play. It can be adapted for any level of ability, as well as for players with different disabilities. The Tennis Foundation is committed to providing opportunities for as many disabled people as possible to try the game. We’re also here to help talented disabled players go as far as they can in the sport.
With the Tennis Foundation and the All England Lawn Tennis Club having worked
For further details, visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk ■
I’M THE ONE WHO FULFILS MY POTENTIAL Gymnastics is an inclusive sport. That means our coaches adapt every activity around your physical, sensory and learning requirements. So whatever type of gymnastics you want to try, it really couldn’t be easier to get involved - and find out what you’re capable of. Are you ready to discover just how awesome you are and what kind of gymnast you’ll be?
There are a number of recognised forms of archery, the most popular of which is target archery, which is best known for its association with the Paralympic Games. Target archery is currently played in over 150 countries and sees the player use a bow and arrow to hit a stationary circular target situation at a distance of up to 90 metres. Archery was included in the first ever Paralympic Games in 1960 and has continued to be an integral part of the Games. Other forms include field archery, clout and flight archery.
Archery is a hugely accessible sport – it can be played by anyone. Target archery can be played individually or as part of a team. At competition level it is generally played individually or in teams and mixed teams. Teams consist of three athletes of the same division, with mixed teams being made up of two athletes of the same bow style, one of each gender. Mixed teams are currently only able to compete in outdoor competition.
THE PLAYERS Indoor and outdoor target archery have the same general rules, with players scoring points based on where they hit the target. The outermost white ring is worth one point and each smaller ring is worth an additional point, with the inner yellow ring being worth 10 points. Indoor archery puts the player 18 metres away from the target, whereas outdoor is 70 metres for recurve and 50 metres for compound.
Most forms of target archery use a traditional five colour, 10 ring target consisting of a white outer ring followed by black, blue, red and yellow inner rings. Outdoor targets are 122cm with 12.2cm rings for recurve targets and 80cm with 8cm rings for compound targets. Outdoor compound targets omit the outer white and black rings in international competition. Indoor targets have the same traditional structure, with compound targets differing from recurve in that their inner ring is only 1cm in diameter compared to the 2cm of the recurve’s equivalent.
There are a number of groups and organisations who are helping archery flourish in popularity, including Archery GB and the World Archery sub-section Para Archery. The British Wheelchair Archery Association also offers workshops and support to players of any proficiency level.
If you would like to find out more about how to get involved in archery visit www.archerygb.org. The British Wheelchair Archery Association can also be found at www.british-wheelchair-archery.org
There are two main bow styles commonly used in archery – recurve and compound. The recurve bow is the traditional style, consisting of a classic bow body and single string. Compound bows are a modern addition to the sport, consisting of a smaller body and various strings and pulleys. Both types are used at competitive levels and which type is used is largely down to personal preference. Arrows are the other main piece of equipment for archery, with most arrows being made of aluminium, carbon fibre and fibreglass.
continued to be an integral part of the Games. Other forms include field archery, clout and flight archery.
magazine.co.uk | 47
SPORTS CLUB Libby Clegg
This issue we spoke to Janice Eaglesham from Red Star Athletics to find out more about the wellestablished club, which has seen some great athletes rise through the ranks to become champions.
SPORTS CLUB FOCUS Red Star was formally constituted in December 1990 after Sam Howie, who is partially sighted, had been seeking an athletics coach in Glasgow, keen to get involved in competitive opportunities. A small group of people with a variety of disabilities started to train regularly and as a result Red Star was formed. The club celebrated their 25th birthday in November 2015, and is still going strong with over 60 members of all abilities.
hearing or learning disability, athletes who wish to take up wheelchair racing, athletes who are seated throwers and athletes who are eligible to take up RaceRunning.” Janice and her partner Ian Mirfin both received an MBE in January this year, but the club has seen many achievements in it’s 25 plus years. “Over the years, Red Star has had athletes
who have won Paralympic and World medals. Two of the clubs athletes competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games here in Glasgow. We have also just heard that club athlete wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn has been selected for the Rio Paralympic Games later on this year. “There have been many highlights over the years and not just at the performance end of the sport. The club has had many athletes for whom just being part of Red Star, learning skills, gaining confidence and developing a social life has had huge impacts in other areas of their life. Some have gone on to make sport their main study area or career, others have become coaches and some will attribute the
“The club has over nine qualified volunteer coaches who are also supported by volunteers. The club is on all year round with Christmas and New Year being the only break. Club training sessions run twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings. Everyone is welcome, no prior ability is needed, just a willingness to come along and be part of a training group,” Janice said. “Many athletes visit the training sessions for social reasons, but others come along to pursue an athletics career. We coach athletes who are on their feet with a physical, visual,
confidence to travel independently and seek employment has all stemmed from participating in sport.” Red Star Athletics welcomes any young athletes regardless of their ability, aged eight or over. You can visit their facebook page, Red Star Athletics Club or website at www.redstarac.org.
on to the international scene in September 2006 with a silver medal in the 200m at the World Track and Field Championships for people with a disability held in Assen, Holland. She was 16 years old at the time. In 2007, she was the youngest person in Great Britain athletics, disabled or otherwise, to be on Level B podium funding. Libby won the Norwich Union disability 200m held in Glasgow in June 2007.
Samantha Kinghorn was also part of the club, following a spinal injury which paralysed her from the waist down. After taking part in the London Mini Marathon, Commonwealth Games and European Championships, she’ll be making her Paralympic debut this summer at the Rio Games competing in the T53 100m, 400m and 800m. ■
STARS OF THE CLUB
You might recognise some of the names that have come out of the club since it’s humble beginnings in 1990 and it’s not only the athletes themselves winning awards, before their recent MBE, Janice and Ian won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Heroes Awards in 2011. But, just when they stepped into the limelight, young Gavin Drysdale from Ayr was awarded the Young Scot Sports Award in 2012. Competing against other athletes from across the world Gavin set world records in RaceRunning, a race involving custom built tricycles with no pedals.
[Above] Gavin Drysdale [Left] Sammi Kinghorn
It doesn’t stop there. Do you remember Libby Clegg? Libby is a visually impaired sprinter who we spoke to in the first ever issue of OnTrack. She is set to return to the Paralympics again this year after bursting
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