Tuesday, 03 December 2013
The Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association (BPA) has urged the University of Worcester’s Disability Sports Coaching students to build on the ‘seminal’ shift in perceptions triggered by the London 2012 Paralympics.
Penny Briscoe MBE was speaking to students as part of Sports Fest, a BPA event designed to encourage disabled people to take up new Paralympic sports, which was held at the University of Worcester Arena last week.
During the event, students were able to try out sports such as Bocchia, Goalball and Sledge Hockey, as well as talk to Paralympic athletes, coaches and staff including Ms Briscoe, who will act as Chef de Mission for the British team at next year’s Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
During her speech, she told them: “I got involved in Paralympic sport in 2001, and at that time, there were very few opportunities to make a career in disability sport. However, during the last decade, there has been a real shift and London 2012 was a seminal moment in changing profiles and perceptions of Paralympic athletes.
“Over 2.7 million tickets were sold for Paralympic events, and almost 40 million people in this country watched the Paralympics on television. We have the British public to thank for changing the landscape of Paralympic sport.”
She continued: “Now, we must grasp this opportunity with both hands. The fact that the University of Worcester is running courses and modules with a focus on disability sport is fantastic, and to hear that they are so well subscribed is even better.
“You can help take Paralympic sport forward. Paralympic athletes are no longer defined by their disability, and you can help the Paralympians of the future explore what’s possible.”
The University of Worcester’s Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport degree is believed to be the country’s first degree dedicated to producing experts in disability sports, and was launched prior to last year’s Paralympics.
Glyn Harding, Principal Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science, added: “To be able to listen to Penny Briscoe and a host of other inspirational athletes, coaches and National Governing Body representatives was a great opportunity, and one that the students grasped with enthusiasm.
“These students are truly inspired to continue the legacy of the 2012 Paralympic Games and will emerge as a driving force in coaching, teaching and administration in the future.”