Would-be future Paralympians in action

Disability Games at EIS Sheffiled 'Children from Tapton School take part in archery
Disability Games at EIS Sheffiled 'Children from Tapton School take part in archery
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HUNDREDS of students overcame their disabilities to go for gold at the annual Disability Games event in Sheffield.

More than 200 youngsters aged 14 to 19 competed at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe at the games, run by youth charity the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Disabled athletes took part in sports including archery, cycling, basketball and table tennis during the event, which was opened by Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley.

It was supported by more than 100 young volunteers, many from Sheffield, who were on hand to help out the young people as they competed in the various sports in teams of eight.

The athletes suffered from a variety of disabilities, with some making their way around the course in wheelchairs.

Sheffield schools taking part included King Ecgbert Secondary School, Tapton School and Westfield Sports College.

Pupils also got the chance to meet a number of paralympians who visited to watch the proceedings, such as table tennis player Farrell Anthony, Andy Wharton, a wheelchair rugby gold medallist, skier Jo Willoughby and Stephen Miller, triple champion in the club event.

Coun Dunkley even got into the spirit of the day by gamely riding in a specially-adapted tricycle with Lord Graham Kirkham, chair of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award trustees and founder of furniture store DFS.

The youth charity runs a challenging programme for young people, which tests their physical skills as well as including volunteering tasks and an ‘expedition’ in the UK or abroad.

More than 275,000 youngsters aged 14 to 24 complete the award every year, 30,000 of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the qualification is recognised by employers and universities.

Neil Forrest, the charity’s director for the Yorkshire and Humber region, said he hoped the athletes would use the day as a ‘springboard into sport’.

“Those who took part last time gained a great sense of achievement,” he said.

“Most of the young people taking part are Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants, and the games will offer them the chance to develop their physical section activities and gain experience of other elements.

“For others this will be a taster of their future involvement.”

The games finished with a march-past of the teams to commemorate the Duke’s 90th birthday, as well as a presentation of certificates from the Paralympians.