Belfast Telegraph

Paralympic fun day inspires disabled children in Northern Ireland

By Staff Reporter

Paralympic heroes have joined with disabled children from across Northern Ireland as part of a drive to help inspire them to take up sport.

It follows a medal-laden Paralympic Games in Rio, which saw our athletes bring home five golds and one silver medal.

After an incredible performance at the games, several stars including runner Michael McKillop and swimmer Bethany Firth travelled to north Belfast on Saturday to spend the day with dozens of children with a range of significant disabilities.

The Paralympians and the children took part in games throughout the day including wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, boccia, dodgeball and several variations of football, designed for people with different types of disabilities.

Bethany, who won three golds and a silver, setting two world records and a Paralympic record in the process, said: "It's great to meet so many disabled children having fun and to have the opportunity to show off my gold medals, which will hopefully inspire them to get involved in Paralympic sport."

The event was organised by Disability Sport NI, which is trying to encourage as much participation in sport as possible among local people with disabilities.

Other Paralympians in attendance included Claire Taggart from Larne, who only took up boccia four years ago but made it to the quarter-finals, Team GB footballer David Leavy and former Royal Marine turned Team Ireland shooter Phillip Eaglesham.

Disability Sport NI chief executive Kevin O'Neill said: "I'm delighted to see the organisation of another fantastic Paralympic fun day, which gives children with physical disabilities the opportunity to try a range of sports for the first time.

"Hopefully the fun day and the opportunity to meet some of our amazing Paralympians will inspire the children to lead a full and active life through sport."

Communities Minister Paul Givan also attended Saturday's event at the Girdwood Hub.

He announced a new scheme called Active Living: No Limits, which aims to improve health and well-being for people with a disability in Northern Ireland, through participation in sport and active recreation.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph