Disability Sports NI have launched a new campaign – the ‘Be Active Be the Best’ Talent ID Programme, funded by Sport Northern Ireland, aims to identify the next generation of talented young disabled sports people in the build up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Northern Ireland’s top disabled sports stars including Paralympic gold medallist, Michael McKillop, and World Disabled Waterski champion Janet Gray joined the Minister for Sport Nelson McCausland MLA for the launch event.
The launch of the programme, which will include a poster campaign, featuring inspirational images of local disabled sports people, was organised to coincide with the milestone of ‘Two Years to Go’ to the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and was attended by London 2012’s Director of Paralympic Integration and former multiple Paralympic gold medallist, Chris Holmes.
During the launch, Chris Holmes announced that the new programme had been granted the prestigious London 2012 Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Games which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Games.
The ‘Be Active Be the Best’ programme was developed by Disability Sports NI to encourage more young disabled people to become more involved in sport, and to make talented young disabled sports people, their teachers and coaches more aware of the opportunities available in competitive sport.
The programme involves a ‘poster campaign’, featuring inspirational images of local disabled sports people which will be sent to every post primary school in Northern Ireland during September.
This will be followed by a ‘Talented Athlete Assessment Day’ planned for the 27 November 2010, during which talented young disabled people identified through the poster campaign, will be assessed by coaches from over ten sports and advised of the most appropriate competitive sports pathway available to them.
Speaking at the launch, Disability Sports NI Director, Kevin O’Neill said,
“The London 2012 Paralympic Games provides us with a unique once in a lifetime opportunity to use the huge public interest in disability sport generated by 2012 games, to make more young disabled people and their teachers aware of the disability sports opportunities available. We are simply delighted then to launch the ‘Be Active Be The Best’ Talent ID programme which will not only increase awareness of the opportunities available, but will also enable us to identify our most talented young disabled people and to support them to go on to compete and excel in national and international competition.”
Speaking on behalf of Sport Northern Ireland, Barry Macaulay said, ‘‘Sport Northern Ireland has a long history of working with Disability Sports NI to further participation and performance opportunities for people with disabilities in sport and physical recreation. This is an extremely proactive and dynamic programme and as such Sport Northern Ireland is pleased to support it. I congratulate the athletes featured on their achievements, and for being positive role models for young people with disabilities, and I look forward to celebrating future success from now to 2012 and beyond.”
Chris Holmes, Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012 said, “As a former athlete, I know how important it is to develop and support local grassroots disability sport. Our vision has always been to inspire young people to take up sport and leave a lasting legacy and the Be Active Be the Best Talent ID Programme is key to helping us achieve this.”
Anyone interested in recommending a talented disabled sports person to attend the ‘Talented Athlete Assessment Day’ or who would like further information about the ‘Be Active Be the Best’ Talent ID Programme should contact Disability Sports NI on 028 9038 7062 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Disability Sports NI go to www.dsni.co.uk
Notes to editors:
For further information please contact Joanne O’Hagan, Disability Sports NI ON 028 9038 7062 or via email email@example.com