Paralympic Athletes Put School Children Through Their Paces at Chepstow Racecourse
Thu, Dec 1, 2011
Children from two Monmouthshire schools were put through their paces by Paralympic athletes this week as the four week countdown to the Coral Welsh National began.
Champion Boccia player Karl Parish and para-equestrian star Georgia Wilson met students from Chepstow and Caldicot Schools at Chepstow Racecourse where they tried out sports including Boccia, Goal Ball and Rowing.
The event was organised by the racecourse and Disability Sport Wales, which is the official charity partner for the 116th Coral Welsh National - the biggest horseracing event in Wales.
Richard Holland, Executive Director of Chepstow Racecourse said: "The partnership between our two organisations demonstrates the quality of and importance placed on sport in Wales. The Coral Welsh National and Disability Sport Wales both aim to find champions of the future. Horses performing well in the Welsh National will be hoping to go on to the Grand National at Aintree or the Cheltenham Festival, while athletes training through the Disability Sport Wales Academy Programme are hoping for selection to the Great British squad for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I hope that the young people here enjoyed having the chance to try out new activities and that some will go on to join clubs and develop a passion for sport."
Karl Parish, Boccia player who has represented Great Britain internationally said: "Wales is a true sporting nation. We have top sporting venues, such as Chepstow Racecourse, and we produce top athletes across a wide range of sports, including some of the world's leading Paralympic athletes. Sport can improve your physical, psychological and social well-being and that's why I feel it's important for us to be here today to showcase what is available to everybody to participate in locally."
With the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games fast approaching, it's an important time for Disability Sport Wales, whose patron is Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE. The organisation's Academy Programme currently supports 54 athletes, many of whom will be hoping to be selected for the 2012 Paralympics GB squad.
Wales has a strong track record in producing many top Paralympians, particularly in Paralympic dressage events including three times Paralympic god medallist Nicola Tustain and upcoming young riders Georgia Wilson and Natalie Povey, who are both on the British squad.