350 disabled Devon schoolchildren take part in Paralympic-style event
Some 350 young people with disabilities from across Devon descended on the Tarka Tennis in Barnstaple this week to take part in a Paralympic-style celebration of sport.
Children took part in rowing, football, tennis and cycling and represented schools from across the whole county. There was also a range of sports taster sessions on offer such as table cricket, boccia, tri-golf, extreme golf and wheelchair sports.
There were titles up for grabs in each discipline and seven School Games areas – East Devon, St Lukes, Plymouth and Dartmoor School Sports Partnerships, West Devon and North Devon School Sport and Torbay Sport Partnership.
The Autumn Ability Games is part of the national School Games programme which is delivered across the county by the sports partnership Active Devon and is part of the strategy to ensure a lasting sporting legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics.
Locally £320,000 of National Lottery and Government cash will be spent on staging 18 festivals of school sport throughout Devon, which will celebrate youth sport and provide an important level of challenges for children competing below county standard.
Local Olympian Georgina Geikie and Paralympian Keryn Seal were at the event as part of a wider 2012 Legacy Launch event and were delighted to have the opportunity to witness the youngsters competing.
Keryn Seal (Paralympic Footballer) tweeted “Saw my first glimpse of true Paralympic legacy at the @activedevon Ability Games today. 350 kids enjoying world class coaching & delivery.”
GB Paralympic Sprinter Katrina Hart opened the ceremony and stayed on hand all day offering motivation and encouragement to all participants.
Active Devon and Devon County Council that more than ￡300,000 has been set aside for sport over the next 3 years as part of a Devon 2012 Olympic legacy.
Devon Olympian Jo Pavey said, “It’s always good to see investment in grassroots sport and in this instance, utilising the excitement and focus of London 2012 to create a lasting legacy for the people of Devon. I am really excited about today’s announcement which will benefit so many people across our County and enable them to get involved in sport in whatever role they choose and at their own level.”