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- 20 May 2014 00:00
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Over 500 disabled people enjoy sporting opportunities at ParalympicsGB Sports Fest in Manchester
Over 500 disabled people got the chance to take part in 20 Paralympic summer and winter sports and meet some of Britain’s top athletes at the ParalympicsGB Sports Fest in Manchester this week.
The Sports Fest, which is hosted by the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and supported by National Governing Bodies, was launched in order to capture the enthusiasm and inspiration from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The first Sports Fest was held at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford in December 2012 while the come-and-try event in Manchester was the fourth edition of it.
With over 500 turning up in Manchester, it means that close to 2,500 people have attended a Sports Fest somewhere in the UK in the 18 months since the first event in Guildford.
The Sports fest in Manchester was held at Sportcity while it was supported Britain’s most successful Paralympian in cyclist Dame Sarah Storey as well as Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher.
The pair were at the event to sign autographs, have their photos taken and show their gold medals to participants.
"It’s just been superb,” said Dame Sarah.
”It’s been really inspiring to see the base of the pyramid broadening.
"Every person that came through the door was clearly a sports fan and it’s good to get more people involved.
"If something inspires people here then they should keep on at it, log onto the Deloitte Parasport website to look for a club in their local area and utilise what they’ve learnt to keep reminding themselves, because I’m sure there was lots of encouragement coming from each of the sports stands here today.”
Gallagher was equally delighted about attending Sport Fest.
"It’s been great to share the experience and success of London 2012 and Sochi 2014 with all of the visitors to Sports Fest,” she said.
"I hope that people leave with the confidence to try out new sports at club level or the enthusiasm to go out and compete if that’s their dream.”
Building on the success of the ParalympicsGB team at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics, there was for the first time ever an opportunity for attendees at Sports Fest to try out skiing on the slopes of nearby Chill Factore.
"Manchester has long been a home of Paralympic sport and it is great to be back here for Sports Fest,” said BPA CEO Tim Hollingsworth.
"Our belief is that London started something special, our role is to help and support the sports as they seek to get more people involved.”
The event was funded by the Cadbury Foundation and supported by volunteers from Mondelez International while senior representatives from Mondelez attended Sports Fest to observe all the action.
"The Cadbury Foundation is proud to support Sports Fest,” said President of Mondelēz International UK & Ireland Maurizio Brusadelli.
"It has successfully continued the legacy of the Paralympic Games and encouraged local people to get involved with disability sports that they may not have had the opportunity to try.”
The date of the next Sports Fest will be announced in due course.
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