Sheffield leads the way creating Paralympic legacy

Harry Crawford, Murray Waring and Georgina Waft taking part in Sheffield Steelers tournament
Harry Crawford, Murray Waring and Georgina Waft taking part in Sheffield Steelers tournament
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A SPORTS club for children with disabilities in Sheffield is aiming to make the idea of a Paralympic legacy a reality.

The Sheffield Steelers’ junior wheelchair basketball team kept the spirit of London 2012 alive by giving youngsters their first chance to play a competitive game.

The club, whose members practice weekly in Northern General Hospital’s spinal injury unit, invited teams from across Yorkshire to take part in a tournament to boost interest in the sport among children with wheelchairs.

A total of 12 young people from Sheffield came to take part in the event and were coached by three Steelers players, all of whom have represented Great Britain in the sport.

The ‘development day’ was organised in light of reports nine in 10 sports clubs nationally saw no change in the number of people with disabilities joining their ranks in the months after the Games.

Lorraine Waring, Steelers secretary, said: “After the Paralympics, 75 per cent of disabled people said they’d be interested in joining a sports club, but they haven’t followed it through.

“In Sheffield, we are taking the lead to try and encourage more people in to it.

“The problem is these children come every week and don’t get to play a proper game, they just face each other. By organising the tournament there is competition, even if it is at a basic level.”

Coach Jack Waring said: “This is the very grassroots level of playing, teaching wheelchair skills and basketball skills to new people.

“It was an amazing event and I really can’t wait to coach the next games.”

Chris Turner, a coach at the Barnsley Destroyers, said: ‘We are in the process of setting up a new team and tournaments like this give us the chance to play competitive games without being in the national league, although we plan on being there soon.”

n The Steelers are looking to recruit new players. For details, call 07812 566108.