The fourth Edinburgh Paralympic Experience Event took place at Forrester / St Augustine’s High School in Edinburgh on Friday 13 March 2015 and it proved to be the largest to date, with 61 young people with a physical or sensory disability registering to participate. The event is delivered through a unique partnership approach between Edinburgh Active Schools, Scottish Disability Sport and Lothian Disability Sport and this year, Edinburgh Leisure provided valuable support to the swimming element of the event.
Swimming made its debut at the event which proved to be one of the most popular sessions of the day, with many commenting on the positive experience. All levels were catered for and the vast majority took part. Swimming is one of the leading Para sports for people with a disability and there is an extensive and established pathway available within the East of Scotland, making its inclusion even more relevant. Scottish Swimming supported the session and used it as part of their legacy plan for the upcoming IPC World Championships 2015 in Glasgow.
The other sports included athletics, badminton, judo, table tennis and wheelchair basketball and each was selected due to the strong club links locally, meaning the young people and their parents can make direct contact, encouraging long term participation.
The event was enhanced further by the inclusion of a High Performance Para athlete’s panel, which allowed for an engaging question and answer session with Samantha Kinghorn, Maria Lyle and Robyn Love. Each athlete attended the event during the afternoon session to spend time with the young people beforehand, which proved very inspirational.
The Paralympic Experience Event attracted further interest due to it being Legacy week -an opportunity to highlight the legacy of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – and Speaking during Legacy Week, Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said:
“With their impressive seven medals including three Golds, Scotland’s para-athletes certainly did us proud last summer. One of the most memorable things about Glasgow 2014 was the fact that Para-athletes were able to compete on the same stage as their able-bodied teammates. We want everyone who was inspired by that to be able to try their hand at sport. That’s why the Paralympic Experience is such a fantastic event for young people in Scotland.”
We would like to thank all the young people and their parents for attending the event and we know that it was a positive experience for all who attended. The input from the clubs, Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and all the coaches and volunteers was invaluable and hugely appreciated.
We have already started the planning for next year’s Paralympic Experience which promises to be even better, and with the Paralympic Games taking place in Rio in 2016, we hope to see even more individuals with a disability being inspired to get involved in sport.