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Disability sport development goes from strength to strength

Anyone who has been following the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games couldn’t fail to be inspired.

A record breaking haul of 147 medals (64 Golds) saw Team GB seal second place on the medal table, behind China, with Newcastleton’s Libby Clegg notching a double victory in the T11 100 and 200 metre sprints respectively.

Also flying the flag for the Borders in Brazil were wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn, Boccia star Patrick Wilson and Libby’s younger brother Stephen who all performed admirably in their events.

Looking to build on these most recent success stories we are not resting on our laurels  and are keener than ever to ensure our 3-year plan, supported by the Robertson Trust, to implement a solid and inclusive structure for athletes with disabilities in the Borders, is fully in place by 2017.

Disability Sport Officer Alan Oliver said: “Since the launch of the development plan, in 2014, there has been significant increase in participation through various sport and development initiatives.

“Our regional disability festival has increased in numbers, Borders Barracudas swimming squad has trebled its membership, Borders Boccia Club has gone from 40 members to over 60 with sessions taking place in five areas of the Borders and after school clubs are now up and running in Hawick and Galashiels.

“Currently we have eight fully inclusive clubs which meet specific criteria while more meetings are in the pipeline to ensure that clubs have the capacity to include people with a disability.
“Flexibility in clubs is the key feature while individual support and continuous communication has helped both athletes, and their parents, to greater understanding of the disability pathway in their chosen sports.”

The plan incorporates key objectives from Live Borders, Scottish Borders Disability Sport Group and Scottish Disability Sport and Galashiels swimmer Beth Johnston is a prime example of how well it is working having progressed through Gala ASC, Border Barracudas and Scottish Disability squads to GB’s Potential Programme.

Beth is also part of the Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) programme the Borders Athlete Support Programme (ASP).

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive, Live Borders, added: “Our joint ambition is to give children, teenagers and adults the opportunity to participate in locally developed participation opportunities and ensure that Scottish Border facilities are equipped sufficiently to support individuals with a disability as well as increasing the number of qualified personnel and role models through leadership programmes and coach education.”

For more information contact Disability Sports Development Officer aoliver@liveborders.org.uk

Patrick Wilson, Paralympics GB Media Day.jpg