Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) shares his excitement for the Paralympics.
Over the next few days, tickets for the Paralympic Games go on sale and there will be two major events, International Paralympic Day and Sainsbury’s Super Saturday, taking place to raise the profile of Paralympic sports and athletes. This flurry of activity will be incredibly exciting for all of us at the British Paralympic Association and, as its new Chief Executive, it is particularly interesting to me to see all the hard work that is being done to encourage the British public to get behind the Paralympic Games.
The first event is International Paralympic Day, which is taking place today in Trafalgar Square. There will be sporting demonstrations and athletes from all of our Paralympic sports will be there so it is a great opportunity for members of the public to find out more and hopefully get excited about the Paralympic Games. The day has historically been hosted by the International Paralympic Committee but this year Locog have demonstrated once again their commitment to the Paralympic Games by taking on the responsibility of hosting it here in the centre of London.
From my perspective it is also a fantastic chance for the public to meet and hear from some of the athletes who might be part of the ParalympicsGB team in London. In general the public recognise Olympic athletes and understand Olympic sports but unfortunately public awareness levels of Paralympic athletes is much lower, so days like International Paralympic Day give the public the opportunity to hear direct from our athletes about how hard they train and how much the home Games means to them. As someone who’s been meeting lots of our athletes recently, I can testify to how effective it is to hear a Paralympian talk about the ways in which London could change people’s perceptions of Paralympic sport and disability in general.
Show your support
I hope that everyone who comes to International Paralympic Day will be inspired to buy tickets for the Paralympic Games, which go on sale tomorrow (9 September). It would be fantastic if British athletes could compete in front of a crowd that was absolutely packed with British team supporters. I know our athletes cannot wait to compete in front of a home crowd, all of whom will be cheering on the GB team.
On Saturday, the first ever Paralympic-only sponsor Sainsbury’s will host Super Saturday, a festival of music and sport on Clapham Common. This is the first time that I know of that any event of this kind has been held for Paralympic sport and it is another great opportunity for people who might not know much about the Paralympic Games to find out more in a fun, family environment.
I would really encourage people to go along to either International Paralympic Day or Super Saturday and find out a bit more about what the Paralympics is all about. I know it will inspire people to come to the Games, to see the world-class sport that the Paralympics offers and support the British team from the stands.
Image courtesy and © BPA.