Disabled sport takes off after the Paralympics
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PARTICIPATION in disabled sport is booming in Swindon as the Paralympic Games leaves its legacy.
Disabled sports clubs in Swindon have been inundated with requests from people who have been inspired by the heroics of athletes.
The Paralympics has given disabled sport a platform to showcase itself, and after the unprecedented success of Team GB, organisers are hoping to keep hold of that feelgood factor.
This weekend saw the Swindon Shock Wheelchair Basketball Club compete in their first game of the season and things got off to a good start as they beat Gloucester Blazers 47 points to 14.
Ben Humphrey, ability sport development officer with Swindon Council, has been a strong promoter of disabled sport across the town and is delighted that the sports have finally got the recognition they deserve.
He said: “The uptake in disabled sports in Swindon has been great and it is good to see so many disabled athletes having the chance to express themselves.
“The Paralympics was a big boost and put the sports in the spotlight.
“We are always looking for new members who may not realise that the opportunities are here in Swindon.”
Jordan Hunt, 17, from West Swindon has spina bifida, which has left him in a wheelchair.
He has been with the team for three years and for him wheelchair basketball has given him the opportunity to express himself and he has hopes of making the GB team.
He said: “I have a close friend who has been playing basketball from a young age and he got me into basketball.
“He thought I would be good because of my speed and upper body strength.
“It means everything to me, it is a chance for us all to get together and enjoy sport, and hopefully one day I can make it into the GB team.
“Having the Paralympics on the TV was brilliant and put the sport in the spotlight, and I was able to watch them and learn from them.”
Alan Curtis, 45, from Taw Hill, found himself in a wheelchair after a motorcycle accident four years ago, and when he left hospital after having his leg amputated he never imagined he would be playing sport again.
He said: “Ben collared me as I was coming out of the gym one day and asked if I would be interested and I thought it was a great idea.
“When I left hospital after 14 months I was in a pretty bad way and I never thought I would be playing sport again.
“The Paralympics has made the rest of the country aware that people with disabilities are people – they used to see the wheelchair and not the person.”
To find out more about getting involved in disabled sports in Swindon contact Ben Humphrey by emailing email@example.com or call 07815776593.